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THE INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Friday November 6 2009 £3.25


Š 2009 Valve Corporation. Left 4 Dead, the Left 4 Dead logo, and Valve are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Valve Corporation in the United States and other countries. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies and are used under license from Microsoft. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES

Issue 562 Friday November 6 2009 £3.25

04 Flips service

14 LGC review

Electronic Arts discusses the effect its new e-books range could have on Nintendo DS

Missed the London Games Conference? Enjoy our full recap of the day’s events.

07 Konami sees Saw success

12 Taking the Mickey

Publisher promises movie series’ fans that game isn’t a ‘cheap cash-in’

MCV catches up with Disney’s top brass to discuss Mickey Mouse’s return

09 Activision ready to Ride

25 Xmas peripherals focus

Label says new Tony Hawk game has potential to ‘reinvigorate’ series

We discuss Q4 2009 with the leading accessories firms in the UK market

EVERY BUYER  EVERY BRANCH  EVERY INDIE  EVERY WEEK

INCORPORATING

HMV lays bare vision of High Street’s future Boxed product is becoming less important to us, admits firm – as it begins evolution into a ‘popular culture hub’ by Tim Ingham THOSE WHO enthusiastically condemned the High Street to history at London Games Conference were wide of the mark: Because entertainment retailers don’t actually need boxed product to survive.

that recorded product was “moving away” from the chain – and that its future instead lay in “pop culture experiences”. “I am very optimistic that the HMV brand will still be represented on our High Streets in ten years’ time,” said Fox.

Recorded media is moving away from us. HMV stores will become entertainment hubs with more of a live experience. Simon Fox, HMV

HMV delivered this shock view to MCV this week, unveiling a revolutionary strategy to ensure it is still thriving in a decade’s time. CEO Simon Fox – speaking after the company had launched its first cinema in Wimbledon, London – told us

“Our stores will have been transformed away from being one-dimensional retail outlets, selling just packaged media, and are more likely to be entertainment hubs in a much wider sense, catering to a broad range of demands and offering access to music, film

FOX: HMV boss says retail must protect against boxed products’ decline

and games in all its forms – including a greater focus on the live experience. Such hubs will work in tandem with our music and other live venues.” Fox’s confident comments come after luminaries of games’ digital distribution sector predicted the death of games retail as we know it at LGC last week. However, Fox told MCV that there was one area of physical product was still growing at HMV – its preowned Re/Play division. “Given that games content probably hasn’t had the same depth of more recent years, Re/Play has bit of a bonus,” he said. “The added-value it gives customers in these recessionary times has gone down well.”  To read our full interview with Simon Fox on the future of HMV, turn to page 20

£1m love songs, as Sony spends big on Take That by James Batchelor SONY IS to spend a whopping £1.5 million in the UK to ensure SingStar: Take That becomes the biggest karaoke game of the year, MCV can reveal. The title – which is released today (06/11) for PS3 and PS2 – will enjoy extensive TV, print and online advertising, supported by a national radio campaign and promotions with the band itself.

A two-week TV campaign has already begun, with key spots secured during family entertainment and music programming such as The X Factor. This will be complemented by a fortnight of advertising in national press and lifestyle magazines. A heavyweight online campaign will target Take That fans through key entertainment and music sites, including Spotify, Last FM, Time Out,

Metro and Facebook. There will also be a three-week national radio campaign across the Heart Network, Magic and Key 103. “With Take That’s mass-market appeal, we are confident that SingStar: Take That will fly off the shelves,” said product manager Lucy Duncan. “As the home

market for Take That, we have a number of marketing and PR initiatives planned with the band.” Take That will be special guests at the SingStar: Take That Extravaganza on November 25th – an event set up to support the Body & Soul charity. The band will pick a winner of a competition, who will then perform at the show.

“The Extravaganza will be a homage to all things Take That and will feature celebrity SingStar: Take That performances,” Duncan explained. “350 tickets went on sale to the public, with all proceeds going to Body & Soul, and sold out in just 20 minutes.” Other karaoke titles released this Q4 include Nordic’s We Sing, Mindscape’s U-Sing, Microsoft’s Lips No.1 Hits and Sony’s own SingStar: Motown.

PERSONNEL 34 RETAIL BIZ 35 NEW RELEASES 50 HIGH STREET 50 CHARTS 52


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NEWS

[LEADER] ARE RETAILERS SET FOR EXTINCTION? THE ANSWER, straight off the bat, is no, they probably aren’t. However at last week’s London Games Conference it became clear there are massive changes facing the way games are serviced by the High Street thanks to digital distribution. Whether you are a publisher, developer or retailer the message clear: it happened to music, and it will happen to us. The difference for games is that we are already prepared. Yes, there is an evolving ball of new digital issues some areas of the industry still need to get comfortable with; broadband speeds, social networking, microtransactions, viral marketing, ingame advertising, piracy, privacy… But there is collective foresight of these issues – and enthusiasm to exploit such things, rather than allow them to become the major problems they have posed for music and movies. Undoubtedly, there are going to be companies that pioneer and push the boundaries. One or two of them probably haven’t even been founded yet. That doesn’t entirely mean traditional retailers will be swallowed by some swirling black hole, as Simon Fox’s words on our cover this week prove. His vision for the High Street is both radical and sensible. Not only must his words be news to investors’ ears, it might be a rude awakening for those still not listening at the back. He’s right: Just because, as Fox says, ‘recorded media is moving away from retail’, it doesn’t mean it’s time to move away from entertainment. Not everyone will be expected to start opening their own cinemas and live event venues, but it’s proof retail can remain relevant – even if it ultimately ends up selling no discs whatsoever.

TRADE’S NOT BOXING CLEVER IN MCV ONE year ago exactly, I said that all bets were off as to whether video games were really recession proof on the High Street. Despite bumper revenues last year, it was clear to everyone that the games industry’s climb up the rollercoaster was about to end. The market hasn’t crashed to a halt, however. At LGC GfK-ChartTrack boss Dorian Bloch revealed that overall the market for games sold on the High Street will be down around 10 per cent year on year. That’s a £250m deficit on 2008. It’s not necessarily a bad headline – it still means the market is on course for a strong Christmas. Thank the retail gods for Modern Warfare 2, Wii Fit Plus, Assassin’s Creed II, FIFA 10 and the newest Mario & Sonic. But it is a warning signal – it’s fast becoming apparent that measuring the traditional market alone doesn’t prove games’ potency. There’s a bigger story about the amount of money being spent on Facebook, Direct2Drive and Xbox Live still to be told. That’s why the upcoming revamped UK PC chart is so vital – and only just the first formal step towards the industry really embracing digital sales. Michael.French@intentmedia.co.uk

EA expects to grow Publisher says Flips e-books can attract new consumers – and that by Tim Ingham ELECTRONIC ARTS is confident that its new Flips range of e-books for kids can not only be a sales success – but actually widen the audience of Nintendo’s DS. And the firm told MCV this week that it believes any prospect of introducing Harry Potter books into the range would be “very cool”. The Flips series will feature titles from popular authors Enid

I’ve had so much positive feedback on Flips already I really do believe we can bring new consumers to the DS,” VP of EA Play and Bright Light boss Harvey Elliott told MCV. “I’m not sure we’re selling more hardware just yet, but I do think that the Flips books will encourage people to pass their DS to a child to read, and broaden the audience.” The firm said it had no solid plans to bring the franchise to Wii or iPhone – but admitted

I’ve had so much positive feedback on Flips already I really do believe we can bring new consumers to the DS. Harvey Elliott, EA

Blyton, Eoin Colfer and Cathy Cassidy, and follows a deal between EA and book publishers Penguin and Egmont. Each title features multiple books and the first four will be released on December 4th. They were made by EA’s Bright Light studio, best known for the Harry Potter games. “I know a lot of parents both in and outside the industry and

that it had a “growth plan in mind should the initial launch go well”. When asked if EA could use its Harry Potter rights to team the book series with Flips, Elliott said: “Well that would be cool – we’re always looking at what comes next. “But, for now, we are focused on, and really happy with, our current line-up.

Between the four products I believe we’ve covered the kid audiences particularly neatly. Time will very quickly tell if I’m right.”

Johns heads up Sega sales team SEGA EUROPE has promoted Karl Johns to become head of UK sales. Johns, formerly business sector manager at Sega Europe, steps up to replace John Clark – who became Sega’s UK MD in April. “I am delighted to announce the promotion of Karl Johns to head of UK sales for Sega Europe,” said Clark. “Karl has been with Sega for nearly six years playing an active and crucial role in the development and success of Sega in that time.

Johns now becomes the main point of contact for Sega sales

“The last two years specifically have seen Sega rise to become one of the UK’s

leading publishers in the video games industry and Karl’s role within this has been key. “Karl now takes full responsibility of the UK Sales team and driving the business forward with all retail and distribution partners.” Before his time at Sega, Johns worked as national account manager at Midway. Elsewhere, Simon Cowley joins the Sega UK sales team as national account manager, reporting to Johns. Cowley moves over from South Peak. Sega: 020 8995 3399


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MCV 06/11/09 5

NEWS

DS audience

[PRE ORDERS]

TOP 10

Harry Potter tie-up would be ‘very cool’

COD: MODERN WARFARE 2

FLIP’ING GREAT: EA VP Elliott says the new range offers something for all children

360 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

Can Mickey dethrone Mario as Wii champ? DISNEY WANTS to turn Mickey Mouse into a games icon as big as Mario with new title Epic Mickey. The title, announced by the publisher to journalists from around the world at a special unveiling in London last week, is a Wii-exclusive. Disney is planning to use the Wii demographic to effectively re-launch the Mickey IP after admitting that the character had lost some of his appeal. “Mickey is the world’s most famous character. But in games he hasn't achieved his potential,” said Graham Hopper, head of Disney Interactive Studios. So Disney has charged famous games designer Warren Spector, creator of Deus Ex and Thief, to create

something that appeals to a variety of audiences – and does justice to the iconic mouse’s heritage. “Disney told me to make Mickey relevant to 13 to 24year-old boys: don’t lose the kids or parents, but make him relevant to gamers,” Spector told MCV, saying the firm is banking on Mickey having the same appeal to the Nintendo audience as the likes of Mario, Link and Sonic. Added Spector: “Imagine trying to convince people who want to be Master Chief or a thug in a crime game to be Mickey Mouse. But when you think about the great characters on Nintendo platforms – Mario, Link, even Sonic now – it feels right from that perspective.” Disney: 0208 222 1413

2. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 PS3 ....................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

3. MAG: MASSIVE ACTION PS3 ..........................................SONY

4. LIMITED EDITION BLACK WII Wii ....................................NINTENDO

5. ASSASSIN’S CREED II 360 ......................................UBISOFT

6. ASSASSIN’S CREED II PS3 ......................................UBISOFT

7. LEFT 4 DEAD 2 360 ..............................................EA

8. DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS 360 ..............................................EA

9. RATCHET & CLANK: CRACK PS3 ..........................................SONY

10. GOD OF WAR III PS3 ..........................................SONY Week ending October 31st Source: SHOPTO.COM  Turn to page 51 for more pre-order charts from leading online retailers

UK SOFTWARE SALES MONITOR Your weekly guide to the UK games software market…  The market continues to jump as the number of new releases ramps up. Our weekly market value of £38.1m comes from a 13 per cent rise in retail revenues and 21 per cent rise in the number of games sold.  Sega’s Football Manager 2010 managed to hold off Nintendo’s Wii Fit Plus from the No.1 in the charts. EA’s football game FIFA 10 also saw a slight uplift in sales, holding firm at No.3 in the All Formats list (turn to page 52 for the charts in full). But last week’s No.1 PES 2010 slipped to No.5, with sales down 54 per cent.  Hopefully, the effect will continue after the half-term – with titles like Modern Warfare 2 and Assassin’s Creed II due in the next few weeks, retailers have lots to look forward to.

[WEEKLY MARKET VALUE] Week Ending October 31st 2009

£38.1m

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

40 35 30 25 20 15

£26.5m

£33.7m

£38.1m

10

1,114,416 Units

1,335,452 Units

1,619,448 Units

5

Football Manager 2010 knocked Pro Evo from No.1

0

Week Ending October 17th

Week Ending October 23rd

Week Ending October 30th


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NEWS

Grainger plots to steal share over Q4 period Firm ready to challenge UK competition as new Hull store opens by James Batchelor GRAINGER GAMES claims it can pinch market share from established High Street chains in its key territories this Christmas. The firm has particularly high hopes for its newly opened branch in Whitefriargate, Hull. Store manager Marcos Dinsdale believes the outlet will lead games sales in the local area, even against competition from larger specialist retailers and supermarkets. He said: “At Christmas, I believe that we will become the destination for gamers and Christmas shoppers alike. “Some of the best products of the year are released at a time when customers are seeking the best value for money, combined with honest and friendly advice and service. “The new store is a real alternative for gamers, as many of the big corporate chains have become focused on high price points and hard sales approach with their customers, while Grainger Games is focused on offering top value products for all gamers.”

Peppa Pig accessories heading to High Street

Grainger expects its Hull branch to dominate local games sales

Grainger Games has spent most of 2009 creating several new stores to strengthen its presence in the North East. The Hull branch is one of six new stores established since the January, following openings in Thornaby, Byker, Billingham, Peterlee, and Cramlington. The indie now boasts 25 stores. Dinsdale and his colleagues Dan Hebden and Andy Crooks are experienced retailers, having left their positions after 11 years at High Street chains to head up the new indie store.

“We’re pleased to be offering our great value proposition to new customers in Hull, and especially pleased to have such a talented and experience team of people working with us,” said Grainger MD Stephen Bowyer. “Anyone who has bought games in Hull over the past 11 years probably know Marcos and Dan. That the team has joined us is a measure of how value-led the Grainger Games customer offer is.” Grainger Games: 01912 181 829

OFFICIAL peripherals for smash hit kids’ franchise Peppa Pig are to arrive at retail later this month. Blue Ocean, the accessories division of Koch Media UK, has entered into a partnership with P2 Games and E1 Entertainment to develop accessories for the Nintendo DS. The first item to be available is a fully-branded Peppa Pig accessory pack which will include a robust carry case, a soft screenwipe, and larger sized stylus to make gaming easier for smaller hands. The accessory pack will be available from November 28th. Koch UK MD Craig McNicol said: “Peppa Pig has been adored by children since it first aired in 2004, making it a perfect licence

to appeal to the younger gaming audience.” Co-director of P2 Games Gerry Whiteside added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Koch UK on this very exciting project. The Blue Ocean brand is now well established in the UK and already offers consumers a great range of quality and value for money accessories. “We wanted only the best for Peppa and her family. I believe that through our collaboration we have achieved this by producing an amazing pack that is sure to be on this year’s Christmas list for kids.” P2 Games has also published a No.1 Peppa Pig DS game, as well as a forthcoming Wii game. Koch: 0870 027 0985


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MCV 06/11/09 7

NEWS

Konami: Saw is ‘not a cash-in’ Publisher has ‘high hopes’ for survival horror title - which builds on film series’ storyline by James Batchelor KONAMI has dismissed accusations that Saw: The Game will be an uninspired film tie-in. The publisher is confident that fans of the gory saga will see the game as an authentic part of the franchise. It features voicework from star Tobin Bell and a brand new storyline set between the first and second films. “This is not just some knockoff cash-in,” product manager Richard Jones told MCV. “It has been carefully scripted in conjunction with the movie’s creator. The scenario mixes the moral ambiguity of the movies, and harsh puzzles often have macabre repercussions.

Industry hails Middle East’s potential

Saw: The Game recreates the atmosphere of the films and the horrifying traps of the Jigsaw Killer

The Saw movies are the highest-earning horror titles to date, and the game is incredibly close to them. Richard Jones, Konami

“We have very high hopes for the game, and it’s perceived as a vital part of the Saw saga.” To date, the Saw series has grossed more than $685 million worldwide and sold more than 28 million DVDs around the globe.

The latest instalment, Saw IV, hit cinema screens on October 23rd, and has already generated $20 million at the worldwide box office. “The Saw movies are the highest-earning horror titles to date, and one of the most

prominent movie franchises out there. The game is incredibly close to its movie counterpart,” Jones added. “Tobin Bell reprising his role from the films adds a level of authenticity, while the actual puzzles are suitably grisly and recognisable from the films.” Konami has been working closely with movie distributor Lionsgate on cross-promotions for the game and Saw VI. The publisher also worked with Thorpe Park to promote the new Saw theme park ride.

There will be extensive trade promotions, with a widely available range of POS featuring the clown-style puppet character that is synoymous with the brand. The game will enjoy plenty of online advertising, with banners and ownership across games and horror-themed sites. Cinema ads will also hit screens promoting the game. Saw: The Game will be released for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on November 20th. Konami: 0208 987 5706

LEADING publishers and analysts have earmarked the Middle East as the ‘most lucrative emerging market of all’. The Games Alliance Middle East Show 09 trade event took place in Dubai last week to put the region under scrutiny – with luminaries queuing up to praise the potential of the region. NCsoft’s regional director Sarah Rogers said: “The Middle East is now very much an established market. We’ve seen the region grow as online connectivity has improved and it is getting better all the time.” However, leading execs also discussed major problems with the area – which include piracy and cultural sensitivities to ingame content.  Read our in-depth territory report on the Middle East – turn to page 32.


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NEWS

Ride to ‘reinvigorate’ Tony Hawk series Activision committed to making skateboarder a ‘family favourite’ this Christmas with extensive marketing by James Batchelor ACTIVISION believes a mix of motion-senstive controls and family-orientated marketing will bring new life to Tony Hawk. Sales of recent entries in the series haven’t matched up to earlier titles – but the publisher is dedicated to return the IP to its former glories with Tony Hawk: Ride and its bundled skateboard peripheral. “Tony Hawk: Ride is set to reinvigorate the franchise as it introduces a new exciting skateboard peripheral to the market,” brand manager Natalie Giles told MCV. “It’s a very social experience, which offers players the chance to recreate tricks like the pros with their friends and family. We are committed to making this title a family favourite.” To achieve this, Activision has prepared an extensive marketing campaign to raise interest in Ride ahead of its December 4th release. This will start with a strong four-week online campaign targeting the core audience of 9 to 14 year-old boys, with online ads supported by an aggressive PR campaign.

Retail demand for Tony Hawk: Ride has been high, thanks to the unique peripheral. Natalie Giles, Activision

TV ads will run for threeweeks from December 1st, demonstrating the skateboard peripheral. A wider audience will be also be able to try out

The motion-sensitive skateboard peripheral makes Tony Hawk: Ride more immersive than its predecessors

the board themselves at a variety of consumers events until mid-December. Most notably, Ride will be sampled at the London Freeze

and Metro Ski and Snowboard shows, as well as appearing as part of Activision’s nationwide tour of shopping centres. The game will also be supported by comprehensive trade activity, with a range of POS made available to retailers and in-store demos arranged at key outlets.

“Retail demand for Tony Hawk: Ride in other launch markets has been high so far,” Giles added. “Retailers have confidence in the product proposition due the unique social experience which both the game and the peripheral offer.” Activision: 020 3060 1000

Publishers plot return to MCM Expo VIDEO GAME publishers have promised to back future outings of the MCM Expo following the success of last month’s event. Over 38,000 consumers attended the show at London Excel, which featured more games than ever – including Assassin’s Creed II, Ju-On: The Grudge, Undead Knights, LEGO Rock Band, Bayonetta, Monster Hunter and Left 4 Dead 2. “Out of all of the MCM shows that we’ve been at, this was by far the busiest and best,” said Namco Bandai product manager Kate White.

“We were really pleased with the fantastic reaction to the playable demo at the Star Trek Online stand and the Tekken 6 tournament was completely rammed. “MCM is a perfect show for us as the audience is spot on for our anime titles and we’ve already got some great ideas for the next show in May.” Rising Star’s product manager Yen Hau added: “The MCM Expo attracts a type of consumer who perhaps wouldn’t attend a specific gaming exhibition. “The people who attend these events want to have fun, dress up, meet their friends

Almost 40,000 consumers were present at the latest MCM Expo

and see what’s coming out related to Japanese culture. It is always a far more relaxed atmosphere and reaches a far wider audience.”

Publishers are now signing up for the next event, due to take place in May. Companies have also been registering interest in associated expos

including Memorabilia in Birmingham, which takes place on November 21st and the MCM Midlands show in February 20th, 2010. “The variety of the audience and sheer number of attendees makes MCM an important feature in our calendar,” said Ubisoft’s community coordinator Korina Abbott. “Ubisoft will absolutely continue to attend. We’ve been at the London MCM Expo almost four years running and each time it becomes bigger and better. We look forward to seeing everyone in May.” MCM: 0844 448 7600


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NEWS

New online retailer eyes £10m games turnover Zoombits plots aggressive games expansion  Plans to hire dedicated games buyers by Christopher Dring ZOOMBITS wants to turnover £10 million in games by the end of 2010, MCV can reveal. The online retailer – formerly known as Memorybits – is on the hunt for two games buyers to help drive sales. The firm also plans to sell software at cost in an attempt to capture

for that. Our aim is to have the biggest gaming accessories range on the internet by the end of the year. “As for software, games is a hard market to break with the likes of Play, Amazon and The Hut in that space. Our current games offer is a bit out-of-date, but we’re again hiring a dedicated buyer, and we’re

Gaming is something we’re looking to become much bigger in. We feel we can do a good job in this sector. Jonathan Ruff, Zoombits

market share from rivals Amazon and Play. “Gaming is something we’re looking to become much bigger in,” said Zoombits MD Jonathan Ruff. “For gaming accessories we’re going to be massive and are hiring a dedicated buyer

looking to get some presence in the market by selling software at cost. “I want to break the back of games and get into the market. We’re really working hard on search and PR, and hoping we can do £10 million in games. We feel we can do a good job

Zoombits’ Ruff is determined to lead the e-tailer to high turnovers

in it and take a chunk off Amazon and Play.” Zoombits is currently present in three European markets: the UK, Germany and France. The company re-branded itself last month, and Ruff hopes that this new name, coupled with a new buying

U-SING

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 6 FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: MINDSCAPE

TV Koch has planned sets of 40 and 20-second spots on various mainstream channels for the title, as well as a twoweek sponsorship of The Box, Smash Hits and 4Music satellite channels. RADIO A series of 10, 20 and 30second trailers will appear on national radio, alongside a U-Sing competition with live reads.

DEVELOPER: MINDSCAPE PRICE: £39.99 (W/MIC) £29.99 (SOLUS) DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH MEDIA CONTACT: 0870 027 6504

PRINT & ONLINE Advertorials for the game will appear is top-selling weekly Heat. This will be complemented by a two-

[IN BRIEF] ROCKSTAR: The publisher has been named as a major sponsor of Movember, an annual initiative that raises awareness men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, by encouraging people to grow moustaches. Rockstar is running a competition, giving gamers who grow the best moustache the chance to appear in Red Dead Redemption. MICROSOFT: An entire ad break during the November 14th episode of The X Factor has been bought by the company to promote Xbox 360’s newly-launched Sky Player service, Lips: No.1 Hits and Activision’s DJ Hero.

WEEK E H T F O N G I A CAMP Wii finally gets a karaoke game to sing about, with the Universal-backed U-Sing from Mindscape, which enjoys a strong marketing campaign…

Sponsored by

team, will allow the firm to triple its turnover before the end of 2010. “We re-branded the website so consumers had a whole new way of looking at the website – we’re about far more than memory,” he added. www.zoombits.co.uk

UBISOFT: A series of short films entitled Assassin’s Creed: Lineage has been launched online to promote the upcoming Assassin’s Creed II. SEGA: The eagerly awaited action title Bayonetta is set to hit shelves on January 8th, 2010. CAPCOM: Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil Zero, a Wii remake of the prequel to the survival horror series, will arrive in the UK on January 22nd, 2010. NAMCO BANDAI: The latest instlament in the Blue Dragon RPG series, Awakened Shadow, will be released on DS next summer.

week takeover on Heat and Kiss.com. PR The game will be backed by a national press push designed to ‘get the nation singing’ involving U-Sing at every stage of the campaign. TRADE The title will enjoy visible instore and online awareness, alongside a launch promotion with Universal music. The game features tracks from major contemporary artists from Universal and other labels, including Duffy, Lily Allen, Mika, La Roux and James Morrisson.

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NEWS ANALYSIS: EPIC MICKEY

REINVENTING AN ICON Michael French looks at how and why Disney is using video games – not films, comics or TV – to revamp the world’s most famous rodent and re-introduce the world to Mickey Mouse… THERE’S NO SHORTAGE of iconic video games characters. Mario, Sonic, Lara, Master Chief; as an interactive medium, games easily create empowering heroes. TV and film IP have had less success in capturing that same spirit. Only in rarer instances have the likes of James Bond, Batman or Ben 10 crossed the divide from merchandise cash-in to fully-fledged game star. It’s been even harder for Mickey Mouse, one of the most iconic characters of anything, ever. Which is strange given Disney is so enthusiastic

number of duff ones. But Disney in fact banned Mickey from any more games (save Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts) as it became disillusioned with his lack of traction with gamers. “Mickey has never been treated right in games,” added Warren Spector, creative director of the new title. “He’s recognised as an icon on a watch or Tshirt – not as a character in narrative. We had to make him cool again.” Spector is best known for work on games like Deus Ex, Thief and Ultima, which boast complex narratives, touch

Mickey is the world’s most famous character. But in games he hasn’t reached his potential. Graham Hopper, Disney

about beefing up its games strategy. And that’s because, even though the mascot is on the paycheque of everyone at the firm, he’s… boring. Sacriledge? Sure, but even Disney freely admits it. It’s something the company will redress in 2010, not with a new movie, comic or TV show, but a Wii game – of all things – called Epic Mickey. “Mickey is the world’s most famous character. But in games he hasn't achieved his potential,” Graham Hopper, head of Disney Interactive Studios, explained at a recent press event in London where Epic Mickey was unveiled to media from around the world. The mouse himself has made a few decent game apperances – and a

on subtle adult themes and, most importantly, change based on player behaviour. In Spector’s games, characters can be various shades of good or evil – hardly the ideal fit for a saccharine, vanilla-flavoured cartoon icon? Turns out that’s the thinking. Developed by Spector’s Texas studio Junction Point – which he effectively sold to Disney in order to get access to the Mickey IP – the game is a more twisted take on the character’s backstory. The title revives Mickey’s ‘brother’, Oswald The Lucky Rabbit – a character Walt himself created early in his career for rival Universal – and sees him take revenge on his rodent sibling for having become such a star. This

Disney games boss Graham Hopper and designer Warren Spector (above) were on hand in London last week to unveil the new Mickey title

irreverant take has been chosen to both secure more Tim Burton-like mainsteam appeal and address head-on the fact Mickey has lost some appeal. “I want to remind people that Mickey can be fun,” Spector told MCV. “He is youthful – but doesn't have to be a baby. I want to remind Mickey that it is okay to be badly behaved. Discovering his essence was really important to me.” GAME-CHANGER So why will this story be told in games, and not one of the many other channels Disney uses for its content? Spector says it is because the core gaming demographic is big, but hard to please – and obviously important for Disney to grow into: “Disney told me to make Mickey relevant to 13 to 24-yearold boys: don’t lose the kids or parents, but make him relevant to gamers.” Betting the brand on a game is a big gamble, though. So to temper expectations Disney has made the

project a Wii exclusive (for now, anyway). That in turn helps re-establish Mickey on the same turf that Mario calls home. “Think about the great characters on Nintendo platforms – Mario, Link, even Sonic now – it feels right from that perspective,” Spector points out. If all goes to plan, Epic Mickey sees Disney make good on its games division’s long-held promise to eat up market share in games by making accessible, quality mass-market titles from a mix of new ideas and known IP. Says Hopper: “We want to grow – we have a slate of exciting products due next year and beyond that will help that. And if you’re a media company today, how can games not be a powerful part of what you have to offer?” And seeing Mickey reborn into an icon that stands not just on a shelf in a shop to sell bubble bath, but alongside the likes of Link and Sonic as an empowering character – isn’t just an exciting prospect, but a big statement about the power of video games.


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LGC REVIEW

Jagex’s Mark Garhard ever-controversial Mark Gerhard made a memorable contribution

What we learnt from LGC... The curtain has come down on the inaugural London Games Conference. But what could the packed BAFTA auditorium take away? Let MCV refresh your memory…

THERE WAS a telltale moment at Did. He. Really. Just. Say. That? trembling in front of him. About an LGC this year; when the true purpose The auditorium is momentarily hour into to the day’s events, he knows of the sold-out event really hit home. paralysed. Even session chairman Phil he’s got them; and they know why During the provocatively-titled Harrison – himself no stranger to the they’re here. ‘Daddy, What’s A Disc?’ session, a brave new world of digital distribution, Gerhard’s point, of course, is easily member of the audience asks of course – looks a little dumbfounded. contested (indeed, maybe a little enjoyably-dialectic Jagex marketing push might help boss Mark Gerhard what the other 30-odd, It became controversial. At role he feels marketing moderately successful, teams will play in a non-Runescape casual times, even Phil Harrison – no digital-only industry. titles Jagex has made…). stranger to digital distribution – “None,” he replies in But the fear in London’s looked a little dumbfounded. devilishly double-quick BAFTA HQ at that time – a rebellious smile moment is palpable. smattered over his visage. “In fact, I’d Gerhard, whose firm’s Runescape It highlights a venue rammed with start closing them down now. has become one of the world’s most white-collared execs desperate for a “If you’ve got a truly great game, popular MMOs with little or no stronger grasp of how they’re going to they won’t be necessary. They’re going traditional promotion, grins out at his tackle a frightening, futuristic world. to be replaced with community audience; his playful posturing And, do you know what? management and online customer deliberately aimed at the traditional That’s exactly what London Games communication teams.” marketing, sales and PR execs that sit Festival provided…


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MCV 06/11/09 15

LGC REVIEW

Fresh as a

GLOBAL COMPETITION

Vaizey Shadow Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey kicked off LGC with his own vision of the game’s industry’s future. MCV revisits the highlights of his headline-grabbing speech… IMAGINE FOR A moment you are a politician. You have to make a speech, and you want to highlight a world-beating UK industry. What characteristics would you look for in the industry you chose? Well, world-beating is one of them. You would want your UK industry to be up there in the top five in the world. You’d want it to be an industry of the future, not the past, and one that is likely to grow, so it will probably involve technology. You’d want it to have a wide footprint, perhaps touching many different areas such as leisure, health, education, defence and so on. You

might like it to be a nationwide industry, with centres from Brighton to Dundee, and many points in between. You’d like it to be a “hard” industry, in the sense that the people who work in it should be highly-skilled, mainly graduates, with an emphasis on specialisms such as maths and computer science. And you’d be delighted that the industry relies on virtually no support from the state, although you’d want to promise Government support when and where it is needed. After all, you don’t want this UK world-beater to be overtaken. Of course, I’m describing the UK video games industry. But this rosy picture is under threat…

Britain will probably lose its temporary third place in the global games industry to Canada and South Korea, and be out of the top five next year, replaced by China. While the video games industry has boomed globally, growing by 20 per cent in the last two years, we have lost 44 studios representing 15 per cent of the sector. Global competition is incredibly fierce, and high development costs in the United Kingdom are slowly killing the industry. Given what is happening, you would expect our Government to be acting urgently. After all, many others are. Unfortunately, the UK is falling far behind.

LACK OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT As in so many other areas, Labour ministers simply do not seem to care that we are falling behind our competitors in a critically important economic growth area. An insidious recent photograph showed a kid sitting on his sofa. Listless, bored, fat. And yes, with a video games console on his lap. The message was clear. Playing video games is bad for your health. And who sponsored this terrible message? Well, none other than the sponsoring Department of the UK video games industry, the DCMS, as part of the Government’s Change 4 Life health campaign. Unbelievable.

A VIDEO GAMES COUNCIL? The video games industry needs a place at the top table. Some people have suggested a Video Games Council, akin the UK Film Council. There is a discussion worth having: Namely, to see whether there is any scope to extend the remit of the Film Council to cover video games. That is certainly something that we will look at actively if we win the next election.

TAX BREAKS I know this is an issue that the sector has been campaigning hard upon, and I have read much of the research. First things first, we need to get the public finances under control by tackling our spiralling deficit. I know most of you have been focussed on an industryspecific tax break. But I encourage the sector to think more widely than that. So I am calling on you to make your voices heard, and send us your expert views. Now is the time to influence our policies We as a country need a new approach.

BROADBAND AND PIRACY With disc-based delivery of content likely to disappear within ten years we need a high-speed network to deliver all kinds of creative content, including games. South Korea has 1GB for landlines and 100MB wireless – the Government’s ambition for a 2mbps connection for everyone by 2012 is simply nowhere near fast enough. The current Government plans to enable superfast broadband by creating a new tax. Frankly, this is an old economy solution to a new economy problem. The advent of superfast broadband makes the need to find workable solutions to internet piracy all the more pressing. We think that ISPs do bear part of the responsibility to address this problem, but this must work hand in hand with content providers working innovatively to make their content availability easily, legally, reasonably priced, online.

SKILLS We should highlight to teachers and parents of children at primary school that gaming is a great profession. We need to increase the attractiveness of maths and sciences, both as subjects to teach and subjects to learn. At undergraduate level, I would like to look at improving the standard of the 81 video games courses currently on offer. At the moment, only four of these courses have been accredited by Skillset. We urgently need to accredit more courses, and to raise the standards of many more.


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LGC REVIEW

What did I miss?

THE FUTURE OF DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION

DADDY, WHAT’S A DISC?

The games industry will see a major tipping point towards digital distribution – and finally experience its ‘iTunes moment’ – by 2014, according to analyst Nick Parker. Referencing reams of data, and an industry survey which grilled key execs on the future of digital downloads, he said that serious change will come within the next five years. And by 2014 “we might have some parity between digital distribution and retail”, with both representing around half the games market each, said Parker – although he stopped short of elaborating on whether downloads will overtake retail from 2015. Currently, the games industry is facing the emergence of new business models that operate alongside the established publisher/retailer market, he said but in time we will see “a combination of download and streamed content”. He drew parallels to the music market’s various services for both downloads (iTunes) and music streaming (Spotify), pointing out that “both can complement each other”. Parker also highlighted the five key areas where digital distribution will have an impact and how they will change. (Although he provided the caveat that ‘no one really knows’ what could happen given the surprising way Apple upended the music industry during this decade.) Hardware, he predicted, will develop to include both next-gen, powerful machines, plus platforms that don't put an emphasis on high end graphics, and instead focus on

Traditional PR and marketing, competition with rivals, and boxed product – all of these things face extinction when digital downloads take hold. That was according to a panel of online games experts grilled by industry veteran Phil Harrison at the London Games Conference. Playfish's Kristian Segerstrale, Mark Gerhard from Jagex and Thomas Bidaux of ICO Partners all agreed that games have a massive future that is online-centric – and that traditional games publishers need to be ready. They need to be quick too: The physical disc is due an imminent demise, they agreed. Publishers must look at “how consumer behaviour and the way they interact is moving online” said Segerstrale, whose Playfish digitally publishes social games like Pet Society and Restaurant City on Facebook. “The industry has meandered on this road, creating games for solitary entertainment,” added Segerstrale, pointing out the wide audience reach of his firm’s games. “There's an opportunity to bring games back from this niche.” But traditional publishers haven't really touched this space Harrison and the panelists pointed out. The implication was that there are vastly different skillsets between the established retail-centric games industry, and players like Jagex and its Runescape MMO have the upper hand when it comes to online games. “Everything is going to merge at some point,” said ICO’s Bidaux. “You won’t categorise games as being

fast delivery. With devices like the iPhone already hugely successful, Parker said it wouldn’t now be in the realm of impossibility if Apple launched a console with Intel's Larabee chip in it. For publishers, the biggest hit will be in their studio operation. “The retail model moves away from banking on enormous day one sales to a larger, longer tail for online models,” said Parker, so publishers will need to reduce short term costs. “They will have to scale down exiting studio structures.” Meanwhile, developers are seeing “the value chain changing – it is shortened so they have the opportunity to benefit form direct consumer ownership”. Elsewhere technology will develop to find more new delivery mechanisms enter that enter the value chain. Parker postulated that these could “either be acquired by retailers, publishers or developers – or become a new content aggregator.” Again he pointed to Apple's sudden entrance into music as evidence that the industry should always be aware of the potential of “one big new entrant to shake up the eco-system”. And what about retailers? Parker rebuffed the idea that retail becomes less powerful in the world of digital distribution. “They still own hardware and peripheral distribution and can diversify into non-specialist but complimentary products," said Parker, adding that retailers will diversify their offer to include digital to maintain customer engagement – wherever customers are.

played online, because they all will be. You won’t say they are social because all will have integrated friends lists.” He later added: “It’s not random that the biggest players in social games are not tied to any of the major players in the established market.” MMOs and their publishers, will eventually ditch their retail component as they realise that “online is a safer model that is sustainable in the long term”, said Bidaux. “Going after the launch effect is acually a very dangerous strategy – because you are in for the long term, not just launch. Making too big a launch impacts you if players wll stay – and it creates an economy in your company that isn’t healthy.” The different behaviour of players operating online versus those that go into shops also means PR and marketing as publishers know it is facing extinction, the panel said. Added Gerhard: "We create good games – people tell their friends about that. That’s it. We’ve never had a marketing or PR campaign in ten years. The users will go and promote the game for us.” Segerstrale said: “There is a big green field in online – you compete with everyone and eveything. “It’s not like retail where, if there is no shelf space, or you aren’t in the top 30, you are done. You can focus on your own game and not care about the competition.” All three agreed with Harrison that future games consoles will lack an optical disc-drive – and could mean that retail could become an outfit to reach a limited set of consumers – a “promotional gimmick”.


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MCV 06/11/09 17

LGC REVIEW ...if you weren’t at LGC, quite a lot, it turns out. MCV provides a handy refresher of what was said at each session – from some of the leading lights of the rapidly-growing digital distribution sector...

THE NEW FOOD CHAIN A market that only offers digital video games would be “geeky”, inaccessible – and undo the market expansion the industry has achieved in recent years. That was the view of The Hut product director Gian Luzio at the London Games Conference. Speaking on a panel alongside Revolution Software CEO Charles Cecil, Sega network director Nick Pili and Direct2Drive marketing director Rich Keen – moderated by ELSPA chairman Andy Payne – Luzio pointed to the Christmas period, when he said 50 per cent of games product is sold. “We over-estimate the short-term impact and underestimate the long-term effect that digital distribution will have on the games industry,” said Luzio. “High Street retail gets boxed product out there and grows the market. If we just do downloads, we’re going to go back to the days of the gamer being geeky. Gaming then becomes exclusive again – it’s no longer mainstream. It’s just for the people who are comfortable with the technology. He added: “I don’t think you can take [games] retailing off the High Street. HMV and GAME, for example, do a great job of directly influencing the consumer decision. Every consumer in the UK is spoken to about product by that channel. Triple-A title must be released as physical product as well as digital.“ Discussing the Christmas period, Luzio said: “Just reciving a voucher in an envelope doesn’t make for a fun Christmas Day.” Cecil said that he believed the future of the majority of new games was digitalonly – with the exception of “a handful” of huge triple-A releases each year, which would continue to be boxed and marketed in-store.

OUTSIDE THE BOX Microsoft dismissed the possibility of streaming technology such as OnLive and Gaikai damaging its Xbox business “for the foreseeable future.” Xbox Live EMEA boss Jerry Johnson told BAFTA HQ – packed by industry delegates at LGC – that streaming tech was “not on an accelerated timeline”. “I think streaming technology is something that [the industry] is betting on longer term,” he said. “Right now I don’t believe that technology can scale out against the experience we can offer on a local machine. “The technology will continue to improve. As an industry we’ll have to accept that and move with it - but I don’t think it’s on an accelerated timeline for the foreseeable future.” Johnson’s comments came as part of a discussion panel on which he sat alongside PlayStation Home boss Pete Edward and EA’s UK VP Keith Ramsdale. The session was hosted by Edge editor-in-chief Tony Mott. During the discussion, Ramsdale told the crowd he believed publishers dIdn’t necessarily need to create new IP to make money from digital distribution. “You can innovate with what you’ve got,” he said. “You just have to do it cleverly.”

CHARTING THE PROGRESS OF PC DOWNLOADS The biggest news of the event: ChartTrack director Dorian Bloch revealed that the firm will start including PC download sales in its charts from the start of 2010. “From the start of next year, whoever is ready to contribute data, be they publisher or digital distributor will be able to come on board from the beginning of next year,” he said. The new version of the PC chart will show combined sales of retail and digital sales on the platform, because “the PC market isn’t dying, it has just moved on” he added. A few years ago, The Official Chart Company started to similarly combine retail and digital sales in its music charts – as consumers transitioned from CD singles to MP3 downloads. Bloch said a PC download chart is needed because an ‘ever important’ part of the business is not being reported on. The ChartTrack system will also hide exclusive deals so publishers afraid of sharing too much data don't have to give away specifics but can contribute to overall revenue numbers for their titles. But he added that there won’t be a console downloads chart as format holders are still too

reluctant to share data - hence the PC-only focus for now. And at first the focus will be on the core PC titles published by UK firms to help establish the chart – revenue from social games, MMOs, microtransactions aren't in the listing, but could follow later on. Bloch offered up dummy charts of what these reports would look like, showing how the digital details would boost the variety of data in things like publisher, retailer and format share charts. All of ELSPA's membership has backed the idea – meaning that first-party sales data from publisher-owned digital stores such as EA Store, UBI Shop, Atari Store, Blizzard Store, Sega's EShop and digital initiatives by Mastertronic and Capcom could all be counted. The chart would provide a raft of benefits, said Bloch, including the first official indication of the the maturity and popularity of the market. “An analysed market reveals a certain degree of maturity, instead of a perceived image of protectionism”, he said. IP holders will benefit from industry recognition, he added: “Publishers, developers and content holders all want to achieve documented success.”


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MCV INTERVIEW SIMON FOX, CEO, HMV GROUP

Big screen, big vision HMV has introduced a movie cinema above its Wimbledon outlet, dubbed HMVCurzon – yet another sign of its rapidly evolving strategy. Tim Ingham catches up with the firm’s boss, Simon Fox…

How do games companies stand to benefit from HMVCurzon? The cinema features the latest digital technology and has wireless capability, so we’ll be able to stage gaming events and tournaments tied in to key releases. It has three screens and is a very versatile space, which means we can respond to popular demand and to stage specially events not typically associated with cinemas. Also, the existing store below has been refurbished and games have been given more space – occupying much of the first floor, which is only just below the cinema. If the concept proves successful, as we firmly believe it will, we will look to roll it out to other key HMV

locations – some of which may well include a Gamerbase online gaming offer. We can well imagine synergies between the two. Are there any plans to put games content on-screen? Aside from gaming events, we also want to work with our games partners to offer special previews of major games before they come out. The cinema will give us the option of doing this in high quality vision with surround sound – and let’s not forget 3D, which is bound to become huge for games in due course. Imagine how cool that would be? People could gain access as competition winners or, more likely, as members of our PureHMV rewards scheme.

Can games publishers advertise through the innovation? They’ll probably want to build up more of a connection first, but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to include the cinema for their games promotion – especially once we begin to roll it out to major city centre locations. We’ve heard a lot about HMV becoming an ‘entertainment content hub’ – and moving away from recorded product. If I were a publisher, should I be worried? We’re not moving away from recorded product as such – but it is gradually moving away from us. The way people are discovering and consuming music, films and games is changing, and the


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MCV 06/11/09 21

MCV INTERVIEW SIMON FOX, CEO, HMV GROUP market necessarily has to adapt with this long-term trend. There is, of course, still a viable and resilient market for ‘packaged media’ out there, but it’s important we diversify and broaden our offer to customers by tapping into popular culture in a much wider sense. Increasingly we see ‘live’ as being a growing part of this – hence our support of Gamerbase and our recent acquisitions of music venues such as the renamed HMV Hammersmith Apollo. The joint venture with Curzon AE represents a continuation of this thinking.

What will HMV look like in ten years’ time? Can you see a day when HMV doesn’t actually sell any recorded product? How far away is that? Ten years is quite a long time off to predict with a degree of accuracy, especially as the rate of change in our consumption patterns can only accelerate, but I’m very optimistic the HMV brand will still be represented on our High Streets. However, by then I trust our stores will have been transformed away from being one-dimensional retail outlets, selling just packaged media, and are more likely to be entertainment hubs in a much wider sense catering to a broad range of demands and offering access to music, film and games in all its forms – including a greater focus on the live experience, such a Gamerbase. Such hubs will work in tandem with our music and other live venues. What will the High Street look like in a decade? Assuming supermarkets haven’t entirely taken over by then, it probably won’t be too different to what we have now in many cases – people will still want specialist stores for clothes, homeware, and so on, whilst there will always be a demand for cafes, restaurants and bars. However, the one key area where there is likely to be the most change is home/mobile entertainment and communication – as this is where the cutting edge of technology is having its most pronounced effect. It's the area

that is most sensitive to consumer aspirations, and as these aspirations change the entertainment market will have to evolve with them. That’s why we believe our stores will evolve into more of what you might term hubs for popular culture in all its forms.

way that music and DVD products have become devalued in recent years in consumer perceptions and aspirations should act as a salutary warning to the games business. Of course, it’s important that games, like any other products, should be competitively priced and be seen to offer value to customers. But, at the same time, there should Ten years is a long time away, be a continuing but I’m confident HMV will still acknowledgement of the be on the High Street. We’ll be huge investment that goes an entertainment hub. into games from publishers and Simon Fox, HMV distributors alike, and it’s important that Would you say HMV is embracing consumers continue to see games as the ‘digital revolution’ – rather than being desirable. running from it? Absolutely. There was a time we were Do you think HMV merely responding to the ‘digital will benefit from revolution’ – and not always that well the postal strike – either – but I firmly believe we are now as footfall playing a bigger role in helping to shape increases from this change. We may not have the worried wouldleverage of an Apple or a Google, but be online our recent acquisition of a 50 per cent consumers? stake in digital serviced provider 7digital Obviously, we shows that we are serious about become hope that it will be a key player. resolved soon, but in the meantime, Have you furthered your we’ll do all we can to discussions/plans with 7Digital to manage our customers’ include games via your joint service? online requirements – Not yet, as there are some more basic but encouraged in the digital issues we need to address before knowledge that, unlike this, but games will be on the agenda at pure online retailers, we some point in the not too distant future. have nearly 300 stores around the country that they How is Re/Play performing for can also visit for their you? Will pre-owned make up gift purchases this more of a percentage of your Christmas. revenue in future? Really well – Re/play has comfortably matched our expectations, and, as a retail and marketing operation, it's worked very well in-store. Given that games content probably hasn't had the same depth of more recent years, it's been a bit of a bonus to have it, and, of course, the added-value it presents to customers in these recessionary times has gone down well.

What is your view of the superlow supermarket pricing on new releases this year (FIFA for £25)? Is it worse than ever? It's probably best not to say what I really think... but the

Do you have any plans for expansion in the UK in the next 12 months? What about your temporary HMV Christmas stores? Are you still pressing ahead with these? There are no significant plans for expansion in the next 12 months, as we have expanded quite a bit this year already. We have taken on around 30 former Zavvi sites, for example. We are also experimenting with ten ‘pop-up’ shops on short leases for the holiday season – we felt it was important to extend a specialist entertainment offer this Christmas to towns that don’t currently have one.


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MCV 06/11/09 25

MARKET FOCUS: PERIPHERALS

Growing with gizmos As 2009 comes to a close, we take a deeper look at the accessories market, how it stands to cope this Christmas and where it is heading in 2010. James Batchelor discusses the state of the sector with companies old and new…

AS WE proved a couple of weeks ago (Stocking Fillers, MCV 23/10), there are just as many promising accessories arriving on shelves this Christmas as there are blockbuster titles – if not more. But while the world has kept its eyes firmly fixed on the platform holders and major publishers, the often-overlooked peripherals sector has been doing rather well for itself. “The market in 2009 has been very exciting,” says Pinpoint’s product development manager Tom Armstrong. “We have seen price drops on all the major home formats, a facelift on PS3, and new versions of the DS and PSP. “Closer to home, we at Pinpoint have experienced considerably growth and the introduction of some very exciting and refreshing lines. We are very happy with our positioning, offering and customer focus.” BDA’s vice president of client services Lucky Evani agrees: “Accessories have

come to play a more important role in the video game industry, enhancing the gaming lifestyle. “Consumers are choosing accessories as an extension of themselves to accent their personality and way of life. Our products provide that level of personalisation.” THE PRICE IS RIGHT

However, this growth has come with a price. Like the games publishing sector, the peripherals market is becoming increasingly crowded and firms are required to work hard to stand out. With so many similar products competing for shelf space, attracting consumers has never been tougher. “The peripherals market has become more competitive than ever this year,” warns Venom sales director Sue Dawson. “The platforms are established, there have been less new releases and ‘me too’ products just wont cut it. The

companies who are winning market share and thriving in the current climate are those who are imaginative and progressive. New ideas and innovation are imperative.” It’s a challenge both peripherals companies and platform holders have accepted with vigour. Logic 3’s product manager Michael Kirkham observes: “There has been a dramatic increase in use of wireless and motion sensor technology. Our range for the Wii has seen a marked increase since the arrival of the Nintendo’s new MotionPlus add-on.” The sector’s impressive growth has largely been driven by the arrival of several new players, all determined to capitalise on the success of gaming accessories. And even though the world’s economy has yet to fully recover from the recession, peripherals vendors are reporting that the market is showing promising signs of stability.


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MARKET FOCUS: PERIPHERALS

PERIPHERAL LEADERS: (Pictured from left to right) Pinpoint’s Tom Armstrong, Logic 3’s Michael Kirkham, Venom’s Sue Dawson, i-Globe Accessories’ Paul Hay.

“We have seen more and more companies bringing out peripherals this year, with the attempt to capture a part of this lucrative market,” explains Antigrav sales director Robert Orchard. “Interestingly, many of these have been from outside the UK – they have seen their domestic markets decline, and perhaps see the UK as a big opportunity to help redress any loss.” Hubb’s sales director Melanie Jones adds: “The economic climate has affected the traditional growth of the games market, and yet confidence and sales have remained high.”

and purchasing third-party alternatives Orchard adds: “The feedback we to first-party, which is good news for have had back from retail about our companies like us,” he says. Christmas line-up has been very Dawson adds: “Consumers are ever positive. By being constantly proactive more cautious about the money that we have been able to reflect in terms of they spend and e-purchasing means that our products the current trends and they are also far more price aware.” requirements for our customers.” “Whilst innovation is key, it has to However, Kirkham points out this is come at an aggressive price point to partially dependent on the flow of ensure good sales.” hardware to the High Street. Evani actually attributes the market’s The critical trading season for growth to such pricing, us is both in the lead up to saying: “With price points where they are, Christmas, and the weeks consumers are buying immediately after. THE PRICE IS RIGHT more hardware, resulting Paul Hay, i-Globe Accessories Crucially, the recession has made in a greater interest for consumers more price conscious than peripherals.” they have been in the past. So how has As a result, such products can be He says: “Hopefully there will be a the add-on industry reacted to this? expected to perform well this good supply of consoles in the channel, Peripherals firms everywhere are Christmas. Not only are they much which will help to increase the sales of taking the initiative to make the most of more affordable than the latest peripherals through bundle opportunities the situation by offering affordable blockbusters, they also serve as ‘safe’ and other promotional strategies.” products to cash-strapped gamers. purchases for those unfamiliar with their PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE “The current economic climate and family’s gaming tastes. However, it’s not enough to shine only ability for shoppers to identify the most More importantly, accessories also during the year’s busiest shopping competitive products has made the stand to benefit retailers as much as period. With a packed first quarter just market even more challenging,” says itheir manufacturers. around the corner, there will be Globe’s head of no rest for the games industry business development ‘Me too’ products just won’t and Hay advises that firms look Paul Hay. “With the cut it. The companies who are beyond 2009. current climate cost is a winning market share are “The critical trading season key factor in the those who are imaginative. is both in the lead up to customer’s decisionChristmas but also immediately making process.” Sue Dawson, Venom after,” he explains. “The key to Hay believes success is planning, forecasting and clear peripherals firms have subsequently “These products offer our retail communication to your customers. This shed the stereotype that their products partners real margin opportunity with ensures that, when the key trading are inferior to official offerings. unrivalled quality and service, with the peaks, businesses are able to capitalise “Consumers who have been loyal to recent hardware and upcoming software on it and this has certainly been our brands, particularly for the nextreleases they present the essential focus this Christmas season.” generation consoles, are now considering offering this Christmas,” says Jones.

With that in mind, peripherals specialists have already begun preparing for 2010. Smaller, newer companies are looking to establish themselves further, while veteran vendors are seeking new ways to hold onto their positions. “At Hubb we are looking forward to expanding our business and working with our retail partners to create exciting and innovative products that capture the imagination of emerging new technologies,” says Jones. i-Globe’s Hay adds: “Our plans for 2010 are to continue the great success we have experienced in 2009 both in retail and online with our Orb brand and offer both current and new customers our continued high quality of service, product and price. And to become a recognised and authoritative brand amongst consumers.” Kirkham reveals Logic 3’s hopes are more invested in the industry’s general fate: “Apart from the obvious, like currency and job market stability, we’re hoping shorter customer payment terms and insurance underwriters granting larger credit limits. Any insight into any new major console developments would be very welcome too, in order to stimulate the peripheral sector with new ideas, concepts and designs.” Meanwhile, established firms are busy working on new ranges to fill High Street shelves next year. “We want to continue the great success we have achieved in 2009,” concludes Armstrong. “We have some very interesting products lined up for retailers in 2010 and we can’t wait to see how the market reacts to them.”


LET THE DARKSIDE OUT ŠCAPCOM CO., LTD. 2009 All rights reserved. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Wii is a trademark of Nintendo.

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28 MCV 06/11/09

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MCV INTERVIEW KEITH STUART, THE GUARDIAN

Video gaming’s Guardians The Guardian once again emerged triumphant at the Games Media Awards for the best games coverage in a national newspaper. Christopher Dring speaks to Keith Stuart on the paper’s continued success…

THE GUARDIAN GAMES TEAM: (From left) Steve Boxer, Stuart O’Connor, Keith Stuart and Neil Davey claim their prize at the Games Media Awards last month

This is the third time The Guardian has collected the Games Media Award for its games coverage. Why have you been such a success? I think it’s the simple fact that we genuinely understand and care about games. It’s not just a case of some bewildered section editor thinking, ‘Oh God, these things are quite popular, I suppose we’d better cover them’. There’s also a bit of variety to our coverage – features, interviews, analysis – rather than sticking the odd review online and hoping for the best. We’re also happy to – for want of a better phrase – ‘set our own agenda’. We’re just as likely to cover a bizarre new browser game that only 20 people have heard of as we are Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

What can we expect to see from The Guardian’s games coverage in 2010 and beyond? At the moment we are actually trying to increase our review content, making sure we have scores for all the latest releases, with extended reviews online

Moore one from last year, but it’s difficult to find upper echelon execs who’ll give us two hours of their time to grill them.

What or whom have been your biggest influences? I think that’s probably different for everyone on I hate the way a lot of papers the team – which is part of have dedicated game sections, why the coverage works. but continue to pursue an Personally, mine are Henry Jenkins, Ian Bogost, my anti-game agenda elsewhere. first Edge editor Jason Keith Stuart, The Guardian Brookes, Shinji Mikami, Sid – we have a lot of readers who don’t Meier, Dave Jones, Gary Penn and the necessarily visit Eurogamer everyday. Commodore 64 game, Paradroid. Possibly But otherwise, we’re going to keep not in that order. looking for strange new games, genres, and trends, and attempting to What would you like to see from understand how the industry works, the future of the games media? that sort of thing. Also, I’d love to have Some journalistic credibility! Most game more epic interviews like the Peter sites are just glorified shopping guides,

with heavily structured review content and fawning previews. But they have the knowledge base and enthusiasm to really take the industry to task – to investigate. I think it’s really important that Pat Garratt and VG247 did so well at the GMAs because there’s a site that has developed a more confrontational take on games reporting. What are your current thoughts on the state of games coverage in the mainstream press. Has it improved much so far in 2009? I think The Telegraph and The Times are taking things more seriously, but for the most part, it’s still about running a reviews section in the paper and maybe a few trailers online in a bid to capture ad revenue. I hate the way a lot of newspapers have dedicated game sections in print and online, but then continue to pursue an anti-game agenda elsewhere.


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32 MCV 06/11/09

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TERRITORY REPORT: MIDDLE EAST

Eastern promise The Middle East is establishing itself as the most lucrative emerging market of all for video games. Christopher Dring speaks to the attendees of GAMES 09 in Dubai on the growth of the territory… THE MIDDLE EAST games market is living in the territory and the combined estimated to be worth $750 million. GDP is very high. Furthermore, around That number alone clearly establishes 50 per cent of those living there are the region as one of the most exciting under the age of 30 – an ideal target emerging markets. In 2008 the territory audience for games. launched its answer to E3 – the Games However, there are certain cultural Alliance Middle East Show (GAMES) – challenges that need to be overcome while some publishers are The Middle East is growing by even localising their games into Arabic. leaps and bounds, and you’ve “The Middle East has got to get some inspirational always been considered figures in the titles. an emerging market, but Hal Bame, Codemasters it’s now very much an established one,” says NCSoft sales director Sarah Rogers. first, as Dekker explains: “There are “We’ve seen the market grow as the issues with local cultural context – you online connectivity has improved, and it is have to take into account what’s getting better all the time. Aion has done appropriate and what’s not in each area. really well, and we’re pleased with the “There are certain things in games results already after just a week.” you have to be careful about for specific Xbox’s E&D marketing manager for markets, such as nudity, drug and the EMEA region Robert Dekker adds: alcohol use, as well as religious symbols.” “Although PC gaming is still the Despite the cultural differences, there dominant form of play, more and more are many similarities between the people are switching towards consoles. Middle East and Europe in terms of The average income here is high. So it games. For instance, shooters, racers has been a very interesting prospect for and football games are by far the most Xbox to move into the Middle East.” popular genre, with Pro Evolution The potential of the Middle East is clear Soccer the territory’s biggest game. to see. There are over 360 million people Retail is also very similar, with large

MARKET OVERVIEW Chris Stanton-Jones of emerging markets specialists Catapult Business Solutions provides us with a detailed look at the Middle East games market… The video games business in the Middle East is thriving. Driven by the favourable economic conditions of high oil revenues, foreign investment and a population explosion. However, in 2009 trading has been tough, particularly in the first half of the year, and consumer spending, particularly in UAE, was severely hit. Hardware revenues will be down in 2009 but software revenues should rise in the region of 14 to 18 per cent. Consoles performing well with year-on-year sales increases are PS3, 360, PSP and Wii. PS2 and PC formats are in decline. Software-wise

PS3 continues to be the main source of revenue for the games business thanks to it being the only format which has not been pirated. What’s driving the market is a maturing retail sector fuelled by both the mall culture and the growing presence of Western retailers. Furthermore, whilst Western markets have one peak selling period, the Middle East has two. The first is the October to December period, and the second is in the summer when high temperatures force families to take shelter in the cool of their airconditioned homes or shopping malls. Piracy still continues to be the regions’ biggest issue.

entertainment chains, consumer electronic stores and shopping centres dominating the market. “The ‘mall culture’ is an importatnt factor in the Middle East,” says Codemasters’ director for distributor territories and emerging markets, Hal Bame. “Because of the heat in the summer, malls are becoming a real social destination, and as a result of that the stores here are stunning. Tokyo Games, GeeKay and Virgin stores are really top notch. Years and years ago retail was nowhere near this level.”

MEETING THE CHALLENGE A major concern for publishers looking to the Middle East is with piracy. Although places such as Dubai are doing well in combating the pirates, other countries such as Saudi Arabia are struggling. For instance, PS2 is the most popular console in Saudi Arabia (see ‘Market Overview’), but software sales for the machine are almost non-existent and this is down to rampant piracy. Conversely, PS3 hardware sales are relatively low, but because the machine has not been pirated, PS3 titles account

VIDEO GAMES MARKET VALUE 2008

$750m

Key Retailers: Virgin Megastores, Game King, Tokyo Games, Carrefour, Geant, Toys R Us, Plug-Ins, Sharaf DG, E-City, Jarir, Dubai Duty Free, Sharaf, Bahrain Duty Free, and GeeKays Distributors Pluto Games (UAE) Red Entertainment (UAE) Alesayi United Company (UAE) Modern Pluto Trading (Saudi Arabia) NXT Global LLC (Dubai) Pluto Derinton Games (Egypt)

MIDDLE EAST OVERALL INSTALLED-BASE (Estimate for the end of September 2009)

5m

4m

$150m

PS2...............4,800,000 NDS...................650,000 PSP .................1,100,000 Xbox 360 ..........135,000 PS3....................350,000 Wii......................270,000

3m

Software 2m

1m

0 PS2 NDS PSP XBOX PS3

$600m Hardware

WII

HARDWARE SALES The exact domestic installed-base is difficult to estimate due to the high amounts of consoles both imported and exported in the region. There is currently no official audited sellthrough data in the region.


WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 06/11/09 33

TERRITORY REPORT: MIDDLE EAST for over 50 per cent of the market. “There is a large amount of piracy,” says Bame. “But we are doing everything we can to fight against that – with good support from local government.” Another challenge for publishers is localisation. Only a few games have been fully translated into Arabic, and Rami El Hussein – the managing director of distributor Pluto – feels that needs to change: “There are different levels of localisation in the Middle East – some games just have the boxes and documents in Arabic, while there are a few fantastic efforts such as what happened with Wall-E, where the game was fully translated,” he explains. “Growing the market needs more Saudi Arabia Population: 28,686,600 Language(s): Arabic Capital: Riyadh Currency: Riyal GDP (Per Capita): $18,855 United Arab Emirates Population: 6,000,000 Language(s): Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Persian, English Capital: Abu Dhabi Currency: UAE Dirham GDP (Per Capita): $55,028 Egypt Population: 82,999,000 Language(s): Arabic Capital: Cairo Currency: Egyptian Pound GDP (Per Capita): $2,162 Other Territories: Algeria, Kuwait, Quatar, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Tunisia, Comoros, Djibouti, Morocco, Mauritania, Somalia, Turkey, Cyprus, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Syria HARDWARE SALES FOR UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

HARDWARE SALES FOR SAUDI ARABIA

(estimate for the end of march 2009)

localisation and more investment. I’m a big promoter for localisation, because that’s a clear message from everyone that we’re taking games seriously.” Fully-translated titles are a rarity in the Middle East, but some games – such as Korean MMORPG Rappelz – are even being re-developed by Middle Eastern studios to be more suited to the territory. Meanwhile, Codemasters has gone a step further by featuring Middle Eastern rally superstar Mohammed Ben Sulayem in Dirt 2. “Mohammed is a real legend out here,” says Bame. “So we’ve been working for the last year to get him in the game. “There have been few games released in Arabic, and they’ve not all been a big success. So we wanted to take that to the next level. The Middle East is growing by leaps and bounds, and you’ve got to go beyond localisation now and get some inspirational figures in the titles.” The future of the Middle East games market is looking bright. A new Government-funded company called Twofour54 has been set up to help establish the UAE as the cultural capital of the Middle East, by supplying training and state-of-the-art facilities for the entertainment industry – including games. And with a blossoming retail sector and more publishers heading to the region, it won’t be long before the Middle East is no longer an emerging market, but one of the industry’s key territories.

SOFTWARE SALES (UNIT SALES IN 2008)

(Estimate for the end of March 2009)

52%

800k

PS3

700k

2m

600k

PS2 ...............1,700,000 NDS .................300,000 PSP..................300,000 Xbox 360 ..........60,000 PS3...................100,000 Wii.......................20,000

1.5m

500k 400k PS2 ...............700,000 NDS...............200,000 PSP ................185,000 Xbox 360........30,000 PS3 ..................75,000 Wii....................38,000

300k 200k 100k 0

PS2 NDS PSP XBOX PS3

WII

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES UAE is the largest software market with about 50 per cent of total regional sales. This is because piracy is under control and the retail sector is the most mature. Also, there is high wealth and it is the main centre for wholesale business in the Middle East, with substantial imports coming into the free zone and then travelling on to other satellite markets. As a result of the UAE’s affluent population, the next-gen platforms perform best with the older formats such as PS2 now in decline.

1m

PS2

2% PSP

13%

0.5m

0

1%

Xbox 360

5% Wii

PS2 NDS PSP XBOX PS3

WII

2% NDS

26% PC

SAUDI ARABIA For hardware, Saudi is the largest market in the Middle East. The Sony brand is strong and Sony Electronics have the highest market share in Saudi than anywhere in the world. In a country where piracy is rampant, software sales have never done justice to the amounts of hardware sold. However, PS3 titles have not been pirated, and because of

this PS3 game sales is showing the potential of the software market. The installed-base for PS3 is now over 100,000 units and standalone software sales of 3,000 to 8,000 units is now possible. Because of piracy, there are virtually no PS2 or Nintendo software sales, despite enormous installed bases.


Sponsored by 34 MCV 06/11/09

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PERSONNEL

Disney promotes rising star Publisher names 30 Under 30 entrant James Thornby as new product manager  Chung joins Outspark DISNEY  JAMES THORNBY has been promoted to the role of product manager at the publisher’s UK HQ. Thornby joined Disney back in January 2008, leaving his position at Konami. In his new role, he will be working with the publisher’s UK and Ireland sales and marketing team on product forecasting. He has managed some of the company’s biggest releases, including G-Force, Toy Story Mania and Club Penguin. He is currently working with the UK sales and marketing team on upcoming racer Split/Second.

James Thornby joined Disney UK from Konami

Thornby will also be assisting with marketing activities surrounding the release of Disney titles in Ireland, South Africa and Australia. Last week, he won a place in this year’s edition of MCV’s 30 Under 30.

OUTSPARK  SANG WON CHUNG has joined the advisory board of North American MMO publisher Outspark. Chung is the executive VP of Korean online games publisher Neowiz and has more than a decade of experience in the industry. He also has several years of experience with online games thanks to his time at Neowiz and as the former CEO of Nexon, another leading Korean firm. He worked with EA to successfully bring FIFA Online to the market.

“We are delighted to add another outstanding business leader with broad and relevant experience to our advisory board,” said Outspark CEO OWEN MAHONEY. SPARKSFLY  Los Angeles PR company SparksFly has appointed CHIP GARAMELLA as senior account manager. Garamella will be responsible for business development, client acquisition and account management at the firm, which specialises in games and consumer electronics.

He leaves his position as owner and creative director of BGAD Advertising, an entertainment agency specialising in the film industry. He has also worked in the food service industry as general manager and operator of Figaro Bistor. “Chip brings a wealth of experience to his new role as senior account manager,” said SparksFly president DIRK FOSTER. “He spent more than 12 years running his own advertising and marketing firm and knows what it takes to acquire and work with new clients. We’re very pleased.”

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RETAILBIZ RECOMMENDED GAMES  PRICE CHECK  CHARTS  NEW RELEASES

MURAMASA P38 This Wii title sends players on a journey through glorious hand-painted worlds CASUAL RANGE P40 Mastertronic strengthens its casual line-up with a selection of hidden object games OFFICIAL DSA RANGE P41 The Stationary Office equips learners with everything they need for their Theory Test SIMS: WORLD ADVENTURES P42 The first expansion for The Sims 3 lets fans take their characters around the globe GAME PARTY 3 P42 Midwayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s popular mini-game series returns to Wii, courtesy of Warner Bros JAK & DAXTER P43 The platforming duo are back with a new console and handheld adventure

JUMPING FOR JOY Mario and his friends return in a nostalgic 2D platformer that the whole family can enjoy together P36

SINGSTAR TAKE THAT P43 The chart-topping UK boy band get the karaoke treatment on PS3 and PS2 PLANET 51 P44 Sega handles the official adaptation for the upcoming sci-fi movie LEGO ROCK BAND P45 The popular rhythm action formula is rebuilt brick by brick for family fun LEFT 4 DEAD 2 P45 Valve unleashes the sequel to the hugely popular co-operative zombie shooter


RETAILBIZ: SUPER MARIO BROS WII 36 MCV 06/11/09

Everyone’s favourite plumber (and his brother) make another journey to the Wii…

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by James Batchelor

Princess Peach has (surprise, surprise) been kidnapped again by the incorrigible Bowser and Mario is once again tasked with bringing her back.

THE SUCCESS of New Super Mario Bros on DS proved that, as much as gamers cry out for new experiences and better This is a triple-A Mario advances in their titles, launch. We hope it will millions are still happy to perform strongly and delight revisit their roots and Wii owners this Christmas. enjoy a slightly more nostalgic offering. Rob Lowe, Nintendo With that in mind, the But this time, he isn’t alone. Luigi and stage is set for the sequel to improve on two anonymous Toads are along for the its predecessor’s performance. New ride, making a roster of four playable Super Mario Bros Wii brings 2D platforming back to Nintendo’s home characters that lends itself perfectly to consoles, with the portly plumber and the new multiplayer mode. his ilk off on a brand new blockNintendo’s hopes are particularly high for NSMB Wii. Not only is it the first jumping, Goomba-stomping adventure.

Mario platformer to allow four people to play simultaneously, it also ticks all the boxes for a sure-fire hit on Wii. The game appeals to loyal Nintendo followers, challenges fans of more retro-style platform games, and is accessible to everyone from children to grandparents. “This is a triple-A Mario launch, and we hope it will perform strongly, and surprise and delight Wii owners this Christmas – and then into 2010 and beyond,” says senior product manager Rob Lowe. “It’s a pretty busy month in terms of releases but we hope that the quality of the title and the strength of the Mario brand will shine through.”


RETAILBIZ: SUPER MARIO BROS WII MCV 06/11/09 37

WWW.MCVUK.COM

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 20 FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: NINTENDO DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PRICE: £44.99 DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH CONTACT: 0870 027 0985

PLUMBER’S ESTIMATES

New Super Mario Bros Wii provides gamers with exactly what they would expect from a Mario game. Players traverse vibrant but challenging levels, tackling obstacles and enemies that will be familiar to anyone who enjoyed the Super Mario Bros titles of the NES and SNES eras. IT’S-A-ME...

While the game can be enjoyed as a single-player experience, NSMB Wii comes into its own with up to four players. The dynamic evolves beyond typical platforming thanks to a blend of co-operation and competition that allows gamers to help or hinder each other – something Nintendo believes will be key to the title’s success.

“The four-player mode is definitely key,” explains Lowe. “I’m sure anyone who played the E3 version knows how much fun it is jumping on other players’ heads, competing for points and racing until the end of the level. It’s like a cross between Super Mario World and Mario Kart. Doesn’t that sound amazing?” Players can pick each other up to help them overcome dangers, or simply toss them into harm’s way. They can compete to collect coins and even fight over who gets to ride Yoshi. There is even a range of new power-ups to scuffle over, with the likes of the propeller suit, blue ice flower and penguin suit granting players access to new areas. New Super Mario Bros Wii has been well-received across the board since its

unveiling at E3 this year. The game has met with critical praise among the press and even impressed the team at Nintendo UK, so stands well to bring just as much joy to the gaming public this Christmas. “We’ve just got the game into the office and it’s even better than we hoped it would be – in fact, the Official Nintendo Magazine has given it 96 per cent,” Lowe says. “It’s a game that’s been designed with real Mario fans in mind, whilst the multiplayer mode opens it up to the broader Wii audience. “We think it could be a contender from Christmas No.1, and will certainly be around the top of the charts this festive period.”

Nintendo has prepared an extensive marketing campaign for New Super Mario Bros Wii, with plans setting this up as “the biggest Mario launch we’ve done on Wii yet”, according to senior product manager Rob Lowe. In addition to appearing as part of the Nintendo House Sampling Tour, the game will have a dedicated TV campaign, starting with 10-second teaser ads in the two weeks leading up to the release day. This will be expanded in November and December with additional ads that feature both CGI Mario animation and footage of genuine Mario fans trying out NSMB Wii for the first time. The TV campaign will mainly be aimed at families, while children will be targeted with a huge takeover of kids’ media on the game’s launch weekend. This will include ads on children’s TV channels, site takeovers on key gaming and kids’ websites, and cover-wraps and gatefolds on all major kids’ magazines.


RETAILBIZ: MURUMASA: THE DEMON BLADE 38 MCV 06/11/09

Rising Star provides Wii owners with a beautiful but deadly adventure as Muramasa battles for shelf space…

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by James Batchelor

“Everyone we have shown the game to has loved it and we have been inundated with praise from both professionals and consumers alike. Coupled with the incredibly good sales figures from both Japan and the US, we

AMIDST the epic blockbusters that approach shelves this month, Muramasa: The Demon Blade is one of the only smaller titles to make the headlines. Despite the controversy surrounding Everyone we have shown its release – some retail Murumasa to has loved it. We chains have declined to are understandably stock it – Rising Star is still confident it has a hit optimistic about its release. on its hands. Yen Hau, Rising Star “We are particularly excited about Muramasa,” says product are understandably optimistic that marketing assistant Yen Hau. “Not solely Muramasa will prove to become a must because it is our biggest release for this have title for Wii owners.” Christmas period but because of the Muramasa harks back to days of massive amount of positive feedback frantic 2D side-scrolling action. The game is a retelling of a classic Japanese we’ve had since Tokyo Games Show.

folk tale and puts players in the role of Kisuke, a young ninja, and Momohime, a rebellious princess. The two characters have their own paths through the game, both ending with a battle against Muramasa, the demon swordsmith. ART ATTACKS

Key to the game’s appeal is the hand-drawn artwork, with everything from the environments to the enemies and main characters painted beautifully to create a unique visual experience. More often than not, praise for the game has focused on the stunning, making Muramasa just as enjoyable to watch as it is to play.


RETAILBIZ: MURUMASA: THE DEMON BLADE WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 06/11/09 39

A SLICE OF

RETAIL

“For the majority of 2009 and directly following Tokyo Games Show 2008, anyone remotely interested in games and the Wii have reacted positively to the artwork style of the game, praising its gorgeous hand-drawn art and unique style,” adds Hau. Of course, there’s plenty of substance for fans of retro-style hack‘n’-slashers. In addition to each character’s unique abilities, there is a range of attacks that can be triggered with specific motions of the Wii Remote and these vary depending on the blade the player is wielding. There are over 100 swords to collect as you progress through the adventure, each offering a different effect on enemies. All of these weapons can also be improved and upgraded as players

gain experience, allowing you to boost their power, speed and durability in order to cope with tougher foes. As the company’s biggest release this Christmas, Rising Star has been marketing Muramasa heavily and will continue to do so in the run-up to launch (see ‘A Slice Of Retail’, right). As can be expected, the ambitious publisher has concentrated its efforts on initiatives that allows gamers to provide feedback – most of which has proven to be very encouraging. “We are not surprised that 90 per cent of communications online have been positive – people who have seen the game appear to be genuinely excited for the game’s release,” says Hau. “We had a similar reaction earlier in the year with Little King’s Story.

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 20 FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: RISING STAR DEVELOPER: VANILLAWARE PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: MASTERTRONIC CONTACT: 020 7502 4450

“With our renewed community focus and emphasis on direct contact with our consumers and fanbase, we expect public reaction to build exponentially in the next few weeks leading up to its release, which should translate to retail as well, especially in the lead up to Christmas. “Muramasa is a unique game, both visually and in style, and should stand out of the Wii crowd during this busy time and beyond.”

Rising Star will continue its usual marketing model of communicating directly to its customers through various channels, as well as its own Hoshi portal, in order to raise awareness of Muramasa’s arrival. “This tactic has proven to be particularly successful so far and has really put us in touch with our core market,” explains marketing man Hau. “Considering the art style and key Japanese mythology incorporated throughout the game, it is a sure fit with all the Japanese enthusiasts out there.” Running alongside this strategy, the publisher has focused on PR – arranging editorial coverage in a range of mass media and specialist publications. In this way, Rising Star hopes to minimise media spend but still achieve a higher and wider reach via news articles and forum traffic. Hau also reveals the publisher will be running several promotion initiatives online, taking advantage of the unique communication aspects the internet boasts. “[The internet] has a higher reach, more channel options and is generally more cost effective, but it also allows your customers to talk back,” he explains. “There is a two way dialogue that exists here that cannot anywhere else, and Rising Star Games has embraced this medium to an increasingly successful extent.”


RETAILBIZ: MASTERTRONIC CASUAL RANGE 40 MCV 06/11/09

The budget publisher brings four new casual titles to shelves, providing ideal Christmas treats for families everywhere…

WWW.MCVUK.COM

success, including getting their very own star on the Hollywood Boulevard. Offering a spookier storyline, Frankenstein: The Dismembered Bride tells of a man’s quest to find his beloved wife, who disappeared several months ago. Brad’s search leads him to the Bavarian mansion of Baron Albrecht von Frankenstein, where Janet fell prey to the Baron’s evil experiments. Players must search 23 hidden object scenarios spread around the mansion and its grounds to recover pieces of Janet’s body. Even if they find all of them, they also need to locate the

by James Batchelor

THE RISE of casual games is a money train every company wants to find a seat on – and Mastertronic is preparing to release four new titles that will buy them a little more leg room in this crowded market. All four are hidden object games – a genre that has proven to be particularly successful this year and stands to do well in the upcoming gifting season. As such, the publisher is confident its new releases will live up to its expectations. “This genre has seen an increase in popularity and certainly suits the supermarket This genre has seen an environment,” says product increase in popularity. This is director Neil McKenna. “The consumer an area of the market into demographic is completely which we wish to expand. different to our usual core Neil McKenna, Mastertronic game offering and, as such, an area of the market that we scattered pieces of the machine that can wish to expand into. Hidden object bring her back to life. Blending the likes of Indiana Jones games sell well and sell steadily and and Dan Brown’s novels and set during with a retail price of £9.99, these titles will appeal to the casual gamer.” World War II, The Secrets Of The Vatican follows the adventure of Father The first title in the range is Bellarmo Bagatti as he seeks the Holy Hollywood: The Director’s Cut. This Lance of Longinus. puts players in the role of a new Legend states that the lance pierced assistant art director who is granted the opportunity to work on some of Christ’s body during the Crucifixion and, as a result, gives the owner the Tinseltown’s biggest productions. As they explore the sets and backlots power of invincibility. Bagatti must follow clues throughout the Vatican and of the movie studios, they must seek find the lance before the Nazis or the out key hidden objects in order to prove War will have a very different outcome. their knowledge of films to the director. Finally, Mastertronic bundles two Their career improves as they progress and they can set their sights on further popular hidden object games in a single

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 6 FORMATS: PC PUBLISHER: MASTERTRONIC DEVELOPER: ANUMAN (HOLLYWOOD/FRANKENSTEIN/VATICAN) ARTAGON (TREASURE SEEKERS) PRICE: £9.99 DISTRIBUTOR: OPEN CONTACT: 0845 234 4242

package: Treasure Seekers 1 & 2. In Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold, players search for their grandmother’s pirate treasure by solving puzzles in a range of environments, from strange laboratories to the bottom of the ocean. THE NEW SEEKERS

Treasure Seekers: The Enchanted Canvases tasks players with helping Nelly find and save her brother from the bowels of a bewitched Romanian castle. Only by exploring the worlds inside the castle’s magical paintings can they find the legendary Philosopher’s Stone. “Retailers should expect a good reaction to these games,” McKenna says. “They have been available in download versions but these are the first boxed versions. They’re strong and well-known casual games at an impulse purchase price point and certainly worth the shelf space to any retailer who attracts the casual gamer.” Mastertronic already boasts a vast range of casual titles, and this latest range will only serve to improve their presence in this sector. However, McKenna reveals the publisher is far from finished with the popular sector. “We’ll be looking to increase our casual offering and will actively be looking to acquire more titles like this,” he says. “We’re recognised as a leading force in PC games publishing by traditional gamers and now we’re determined to make our mark on the casual games market.”


RETAILBIZ: OFFICIAL DSA RANGE WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 06/11/09 41

The Stationary Office continues to provide quality learning aids for consumers looking to pass their driving theory test with a range of titles aimed at both learner car drivers and motorcycle riders… by James Batchelor IT’S NOT just traditional video games that will be competing for space on retailers’ shelves this Christmas. A variety of non-games and selfimprovement software will also have a strong presence, positioned as ideal gifts for the year’s busiest trading season. Shoppers looking to pick up something for their friends and family that’s a little more productive than another mini-game collection or action-heavy shoot-‘em-up need look no further that The Stationary Office’s range of Official DSA products. With people learning to drive throughout the year, these learning aids make the perfect Christmas present for aspiring drivers, particularly teenagers. Developed through the publisher’s ongoing partnership with the Driving Standards Agency, the range is full of authentic questions and answers from the theory test, as well as all the resources a learner could possibly need to gain that all-important pass mark. The bulk of the range focuses on car owners, and begins with The Official

DSA Theory Test for Car Drivers and The Official Highway Code CD-ROM. This title contains every theory test question a learner could be asked until summer 2010, including a break-down of the DSA’s new case study-style questions. Users can sit customised tests that are tailored to their requirement and analyse the results afterwards to identify

Shoppers looking to pick up something more productive than a shoot-’em-up need look no further than the official DSA products. which areas they need to brush up on. There’s even a full official DSA explanation on all of the answers to help them understand where they went wrong, and a full digital version of the current Official Highway Code. This product is also included in the Theory Test Kit, along with the Official DSA Guide To Hazard Perception DVD. This boasts a variety of official DSA video clips used in the Hazard Perception test and runs on an ordinary DVD player, with users identifying hazards with their remote. Crucially, it

provides feedback on their performances, highlighting any potential hazards they may have missed and offering tips on how to spot them in future. Both the Theory Test for Car Drivers and Hazard Perception discs are bundled into the Official DSA Complete Learner Driver Pack. This package not only has everything a car owner needs to pass the theory test, but also how to ace the practical one as well. Included in the bundle is the Prepare for your Practical Driving Test: The Official DSA Guide DVD. This DVD takes users through the process of the test itself, explaining the 24 key driving skills you will be expected to demonstrate and how to attain the Level 5 standard required to pass. Motorbikers are also catered for with the Official DSA Theory Test for Motorcylists CD-ROM. Similar to its car-based counterpart, this also includes all of the questions that could appear in the motorcyclists’ theory test until next summer. Once again, users can experience these questions in a test-style scenario,

with comprehensive feedback on their performance and advice on how to improve before their final test. A digital edition of the Official Highway Code is included. The Theory Test disc can also be found in the Official DSA Biker Pack: Theory Test and Better Biking pack. This bundles the revision software with the Better Biking: The Official DSA Training Aid DVD, which provides tips on how motorcyclists can refine their riding skills. This DVD features short films of learners working through their enhanced rider training, as well as trainer analysis of each one to explain the skills further. Throw in authoritative advice on bikes, clothing, machine checks and security, and users will have everything their need to prepare for the Enhanced Rider Scheme assessment, which could lead to lower insurance costs. RELEASED: OUT NOW FORMATS: PC PUBLISHER: TSO DEVELOPER: VANILLAWARE PRICE: £12.99 – £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: OPEN CONTACT: 01603 622 211


RETAILBIZ: SIMS 3 WORLD ADVENTURES/GAME PARTY 3 42 MCV 06/11/09

WWW.MCVUK.COM

In the first expansion pack for this summer’s The Sims 3, Electronic Arts takes gamers away from the neighbourhood and around the world…

Warner Bros releases its first instalment in the bestselling mini-game series formerly owned by Midway…

by James Batchelor

by James Batchelor

FIRST, there was The Sims. Then there was a veritable tsunami of expansion packs. These sold millions of units, prompting the same approach to be taken with The Sims 2. When The Sims 3 arrived in May this year, discs packed with additional content were inevitable. Enter The Sims 3: World Adventures, the first expansion pack to be developed for the latest instalment in the multimillion selling virtual dollhouse franchise. However, while previous expansions have settled for simply provided new content, such as furniture and outfits, the newest addition to the series tries something a little different. GLOBAL AMBITIONS

World Adventures allows players to take their Sims on journeys to some of the world’s most exotic and well-known destinations. The digital people can explore famous landmarks in Siminspired locations across the glob, including Shang Simla in China, Champs Les Sims in France, and Al Simhara in Egypt. As with the real-world resorts, each has a different atmosphere and culture, so Sims will have the opportunity to

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 20 FORMATS: PC PUBLISHER: ELECTRONIC ARTS DEVELOPER: THE SIMS STUDIO PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

master the martial arts in China or enjoy romantic getaways in France. They can even explore the dark chambers of ancient tombs in Egypt. There is plenty to do at each destination, with a series of challenges that will task players with searching for secret treasures. They will also be able to teach their Sims new skills and develop their characters, as well as interacting with the unique local Sims of each nation. Adding further to the holiday mentality, World Adventures allows Sims fans to bring back mementos such as photographs, movies and stories into their original homes in The Sims 3. They can also discover new styles and cultures that can be used to decorate their Sims 3 home. Consumers that pick up The Sims 3: World Adventures will also receive 1,000 SimPoints that can be spent online in The Sims 3 Store.

AS WE ALL KNOW, mini-game collections are abundant on the Wii but amid the myriad of sub-par titles have been a few best-selling gems. One of the first success stories was Midway’s Game Party – and now the series returns to shelves just in time for Christmas. In the capable hands of Warner Bros, the third instalment in the franchise maintains the accessible, high-energy nature of the mini-games found in its forebears, as well as the social nature of the multiplayer mode. Game Party 3 features eight brand new mini-games based on activities that have yet to appear in the series. These include Billiards, Bumper Pool, Mini Golf, Smacka-Troll, Bocce Ball, Racquetball, Croquet and a remake of classic Midway arcade game Root Beer Tapper. There are also 11 returning activities that have been enhanced and improved since the previous games. Boasting new layouts, levels and a larger database of trivia, these include Darts, Hoop Shoot, Ping Cup, Shuffleboard, Skill Ball, Trivia, Puck Bowling, Horseshoes, Beanbags, QB Challenge and Lawn Darts. All of these mini-games not only make full use of the Remote’s motion-

RELEASED: DECEMBER 4 FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: WARNER BROS DEVELOPER: FARSIGHT STUDIOS PRICE: £19.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

sensitive capabilities, they also provide the perfect entertainment for multiplayer sessions. Games can be played with up to four players simultaneously – alternatively, up to 16 players can be organised into groups for larger parties. PARTY TIME

Each players can customise their own character and maintain a player profile, which keeps track of their high scores. They can also earn game tickets, which can be used to unlock additional in-game equipment and accessories for their avatar. Mini-game collections always fare well around Christmas as gift buyers seek affordable entertainment for their Wii-owning friends and relatives. With its low price point and recognisable brand, Game Party 3 has the potential to be a strong seller this holiday.


RETAILBIZ: JAK & DAXTER/SINGSTAR TAKE THAT WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 06/11/09 43

Sony’s platforming duo take to the skies for their latest adventure as Jak & Daxter debuts on PSP…

The multi-million selling UK boy band’s video game debut arrives, to delight fans both young and old…

by James Batchelor

by James Batchelor

BEFORE Ratchet teamed up with Clank, there was Jak and Daxter. This spiky-eared hero and his wise-cracking companion provided PS2 owners with some of the best platforming antics available on the console, before fading into obscurity as their futuristic successors seized the limelight. Now the stage is set for the duo’s return. While Daxter enjoyed a solo stint on PSP in 2006, Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier represents Jak’s first venture on Sony’s handheld. Available on both PSP and PS2, The Lost Frontier caters to both home console and handheld gamers with a brand new action adventure. JAK IN THE BOX

The story picks up where the original trilogy left off. As the world begins to run out of Eco – the precious but volatile substance that provides the people with power – Jak and Keira travel to the edge of the planet, with a reluctant Daxter. Here they learn of ancient machinery that could provide a solution – but they are not the only interested party. As they explore, Jak must battle with armies of Sky Pirates while continuing to struggle with his own Eco powers.

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 20 FORMATS: PSP/PS2 PUBLISHER: SONY DEVELOPER: HIGH IMPACT GAMES PRICE: £24.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

Once again, players progress through the storyline by completing missions that involve traversing challenging environments or defeating key enemies with Jak’s trusty Gunstaff. This time around there are a variety of optional missions in addition to the story-based ones, and players can choose to complete these at their own pace. Optional missions unlock additional modifications for the Gunstaff and Eco, which can be used to upgrade Jak’s new special powers and give him an edge in battle. There are four types of Eco that can be used throughout the game, each with a different effect on Jak’s skills. Vehicular combat also plays a big part in Jak and Daxter’s latest outing. This time they swap desert racers for planes. There are five different planes to unlock, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and these will be essential to accessible new areas that can later be explored.

THE BEATLES’ video game debut has come and gone. Now it’s time for another four UK stars to venture into music games, bringing their greatest hits to PlayStations everywhere. SingStar Take That makes the UK boy band one of the few acts to receive their own band-specific SingStar game, following the likes of Abba and Queen. The game allows fans to enjoy the foursome’s (okay, fivesome if you include Robbie) most popular songs. BACK FOR GOOD

Thanks to their successful comeback a few years ago, Take That are in the unique position of having two generations of hits: Those of the ‘90s when they first emerged, and those of more recent years. The band’s followers will be relieved to find that both Take That eras have been covered here. The mums and other older fans that remember swooning over the young Mancunians will enjoy crooning their way through the likes of Relight My Fire, It Only Takes A Minute Girl, Back For Good andCould It Be Magic. Meanwhile, younger fans who have only discovered the band since their

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 6 FORMATS: PS3/PS2 PUBLISHER: SONY DEVELOPER: LONDON STUDIO PRICE: £19.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

comeback will no doubt be itching to have a go at such songs as Shine, Patience and Rule The World – as well as discovering the boys’ earlier efforts. All in all, there are 30 tracks spread across Take That’s history and all are presented with the official video behind the scrolling words – yes, even the ones with Robbie in them. As always, songs can be sung as solos, duets or in the Battle mode, and the game is even compatible with the Wireless SingStar Microphones so players can try out their own dance routines as they sing. Sony has already been working hard to raise awareness of the game’s arrival by communicating directly with the fans. SingStar was the sponsor of Take That’s UK stadium tour, where 1.2 million people had the chance to try out the game in dedicated sampling venues. PS3 owners have also been enticed with a Take That SongPack – made available through SingStore this summer.


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.


RETAILBIZ: PLANET 51 WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 06/11/09 45

Sega’s latest movie tie-in sees two loveable scamps navigate the scary world of outer space…

by Tim Ingham

With the help of his robot companion Rover, and alien friend Lem, Chuck must navigate his way through the bewildering, landscape of Planet 51 in order to escape becoming a permanent

PLANET 51 is the latest movie from the writer of Shrek and Shrek 2 – and promises just as many family-friendly giggles as those two colossal releases. We are really excited about Sega has snapped up this release. The quality of the rights to the game of the product will delight fans the movie, and of the Planet 51 movie. understandably has high Ben Payne, Sega hopes. The film’s storyline certainly promises a feel-good hit for Christmas. part of the Planet 51 Alien Invaders American astronaut Captain Charles Space Museum. ‘Chuck’ Baker lands on Planet 51 In keeping with the storyline of the thinking he’s the first person to step foot movie, Planet 51 The Game sees there, only to find the world is actually players help bumbling astronaut inhabited by little green people happily Chuck and new-found alien friend Lem going about life in a way reminiscent of slowly try and find their way back to the innocent 1950s America. Chuck’s spaceship.

“We are really excited about the release of Planet 51,” explains Sega UK product manager Ben Payne. “The game’s unique conception – in conjunction with the animation studio – gives it unrivalled synergy as a licensed product. We believe that all those who buy Planet 51 will be delighted with the quality of the product.” The free-roaming world allows characters to explore on foot, before commandeering vehicles to complete numerous missions enabling Chuck to return home to Earth. Chuck and Lem can take control of hover bikes, taxis, cars, trucks and more to take part in missions involving police chases, cutting grass and even driving angry gorillas to the circus.

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 27th FORMATS: PS3/WII/360/PS3 PUBLISHER: SEGA DEVELOPER: FIREBRAND GAMES PYRO PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

“Planet 51’s defining feature is that it is made across the hall from the people making the movie, so the same infectious wit and storytelling is very apparent in the game as in the movie,” adds Payne. Sega will target parents and kids with a TV campaign at launch and through December. Meanwhile, a strong cinema campaign for the game is booked out for the movie’s UK run.


RETAILBIZ: LEFT 4 DEAD 2/ LEGO ROCK BAND 46 MCV 06/11/09

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EA and Valve release the much-anticipated sequel to one of last year’s best FPS efforts…

Warner Bros brings the music game concept to Traveller’s Tales’ popular LEGO universe…

by Tim Ingham

by Tim Ingham

LEFT FOR DEAD quickly became one of 2008’s most talked-about games after being released in November. The title changed the zombie game irrevocably – not least through introducing air-munching, super-fast, 28 Days Later-style beasts, rather than shuffling buffoons of Resident Evil and other series. It also happened to become one of the best-reviewed titles of the year for its intense co-operative play, and developer Valve had yet another first person hit on its hands. And now the firm is set to take that even further with Left 4 Dead 2. SET 4 SUCCESS

Like Left 4 Dead, the sequel surrounds the aftermath of an apocalyptic pandemic, whereby an outbreak of a rabies-like virus is causing infected humans to behave like zombies. And gamers must team up with others to overcome the hoards and reach safety.

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 20 FORMATS: 360/PC PUBLISHER: EA DEVELOPER:VALVE PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

However, this time the game will feature a wealth of new monsters including The Charger – a mutated infected with an oversized arm, which can move quickly and knock players off their feet. And The Jockey, which can jump onto the back of a survior and pull them towards other infected. The game also boasts new melee weapons, such as chainsaws and baseball bats, as well as new ranged guns and special ammunition. But best of all for retail, Left 4 Dead 2 has a significantly larger marketing campaign, with $25 million set to be spent globally. And just over half of that spend is focussed on Europe.

AS FANTASTIC a franchise as Rock Band is, the team at Warner don’t believe it’s fully exploited the potential of the family market… until now. LEGO Rock Band combines one of the most popular music games with one of the most lucrative mainstream series that appeals to all ages. Furthermore, a Super Easy guitar mode and an auto-kick drum mode is on offer for very young or inexperienced players, and all tracks are family friendly. These tracks include The Jackson 5’s I Want You Back, Kaiser Chiefs’ Ruby, Queen’s We Will Rock You and more. “So far we’ve announced Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Blur as in-game LEGO characters and we have many more artist and band announcements to come,” says sales and marketing director for WBIE UK Spencer Crossley. “The press has responded really enthusiastically, with high profile stories appearing in most national newspapers.”

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 27 FORMATS: 360/WII/PS3/DS PUBLISHER: WARNER BROS/MTV DEVELOPER: TRAVELLER’S TALES HARMONIX BACKBONE FOUNDATION 9 PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

As players successfully complete songs and challenges, they can collect LEGO studs, unlock additional content and build vehicles, which can take their band from local gigs at rock clubs to epic stadium shows and even fantasy settings on Earth and beyond. As part of the game’s marketing push, Warner will undertake a four-week video on demand campaign that targets kids and housewives from the weekend of launch all the way to Christmas. This will take place in key programming including The X Factor, Coronation Street, Hollyoaks and I’m A Celebrity.


Medieval Gamesâ&#x201E;˘ Š 2009 Vir2L Studios LLC, a ZeniMax Media company. Medieval Games,Vir2L, ZeniMax and related logos are registered trademarks or trademarks of ZeniMax Media Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All Rights Reserved. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Wii is a trademark of Nintendo.


RETAILBIZ: NEW RELEASES 48 MCV 06/11/09

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Check out MCVUK.COM/RELEASE-DATES for more

Modern Warfare assaults November TITLE

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Wii DS XBOX 360 / PS3 / PC

FPS FPS FPS

Activision Blizzard Activision Blizzard Activision Blizzard

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

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Ubisoft 505 Games Mindscape Ubisoft Atari First Class Simulations 505 Games Ubisoft Kalypso Media Ubisoft THQ Ubisoft Namco Bandai THQ Kalypso Media Nordic Games

0845 362 7769 0121 506 9585 0870 027 0985 0845 362 7769 0121 506 9585 01869 338833 0121 506 9585 0845 362 7769 0121 506 9585 0845 362 7769 0121 506 9585 0845 362 7769 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388

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

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

Action Action/Adventure Action/Adventure Mini-games Simulation Simulation Simulation Music Mini-games Racing Mini-games Casual Casual Casual Music Platformer RPG/Action Simulation Platformer RPG Simulation Sports Survival Horror Quiz Adventure Action Action/Adventure Simulation

Ubisoft Ubisoft Ubisoft Disney Interactive First Class Simulations First Class Simulations First Class Simulations Namco Bandai Zushi Codemasters Mindscape Zushi Zushi Zushi Konami Activision Blizzard Rising Star Games South Peak Nintendo Nintendo Ubisoft Konami Konami Warner Games Ubisoft LucasArts D3Publisher EA

0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388 01869 338833 01869 338833 01869 338833 0121 506 9585 01279 822 800 01279 822 800 0870 027 0985 01279 822 800 01279 822 800 01279 822 800 0208 987 5706 0121 625 3388 01582 433700 0121 625 3388 0870 027 0985 0870 027 0985 0845 362 7769 020 8987 5730 0208 987 5706 0121 625 3388 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388

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XBOX 360 PC PC Wii

Strategy Simulation Simulation Music

THQ Just Flight Just Flight Ubisoft

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Advantage Mastertronic Mastertronic Trilogy

NOVEMBER 10th Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Call Of Duty: Mobilised Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

NOVEMBER 13th C.O.P: The Recruit Cooking Mama 3 Countdown CSI: Deadly Intent Dragon Ball Z: Raging Blast Fly The Boeing Fleet Hair Salon Monster 4X4 Stuntrace Race On! Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage SpongeBob: Truth or Square Take A Break's Puzzle Master Tales Of Symphonia: Dawn Of The New World The Biggest Loser Tropico 3 We Sing

NOVEMBER 20th Assassin's Creed 2 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 Family Gameshow Formula 1 I'm A Celebrity: Get Me Out Of Here Jig-a-Pix: Pets Jig-a-Pix: Wild World Jig-a-Pix: Wonderful World Karaoke Revolution LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues Murumasa: The Demon Blade My Baby 2 New Super Mario Bros Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers Of the Sky Princess Melody Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 Saw: The Game Scene It? Bright Lights Big Screen! Sherlock Holmes Vs Jack The Ripper Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - Ultimate Sith Edition The Secret Saturdays: Beasts Of The 5th Sun The Sims 3: World Adventures

NOVEMBER 27th Blood Bowl Class 60+ Freight Constellation Professional Just Dance

MUSTSTOCK ......................MODERN WARFARE 2 Released: November 10th Format: Xbox 360, PS3, PC Publisher: Activision Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 0121 625 3388

The biggest event of the gaming calendar hits the High Street. In the highly anticipated sequel to the original Modern Warfare, players once again team up with Captain ‘Soap’ McTavish and take to the battlefields of today. Expect this to fly off the shelves.

MUSTSTOCK ............................SAW: THE GAME Released: November 20th Format: Xbox 360, PS3, PC Publisher: Konami Distributor: Open Contact: 0208 987 5706

Based on the hit horror films, Saw: The Game recreates the sheer terror of the series by placing players in one of the serial killer’s deadly traps. As they try to escape from his spine-chilling forms of torture, players also have to help other trapped people.


RETAILBIZ: NEW RELEASES WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 06/11/09 49

The most highly anticipated game of the year finally arrives as Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 swoops in, backed up by Mobilised and Reflex. There’s plenty for gamers with different tastes, of course, thanks to Konami’s Saw: The Game and a double helping of LEGO titles, as well as Cooking Mama, New Super Mario Bros, Assassin’s Creed and more... TITLE

LEGO Rock Band Newcastle To York - Modern North American Hunting Extraganza Peppa Pig Petz: Nursery Playmobil: Circus Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles TMNT Arcade Attack UFC Undisputed (Platinum/Classic) Where The Wild Things Are

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XBOX 360 / PS3 / Wii / DS PC Wii Wii DS DS / Wii Wii DS XBOX 360 / PS3 XBOX 360 / PS3 / Wii

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Warner Games Just Flight Zushi Ubisoft Ubisoft Mindscape Capcom Ubisoft THQ Warner Games

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Centresoft Mastertronic Gem Trilogy Trilogy Koch Centresoft Trilogy Advantage Centresoft

DS DS / Wii PC DS / Wii Wii PSP DS / Wii PS2 DS Wii

Simulation Simulation Casual Sports Self-Improvement Action Simulation Action Simulation Racing

City Interactive Deep Silver City Interactive Ghostlight EA Sony Sega Namco Bandai City Interactive Bethesda

0845 362 7769 0870 027 0985 0845 362 7769 01376 555333 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 0845 362 7769 0121 506 9585

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PC

MMORPG

Codemasters

01279 822 800

Gem

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

Non-games Non-games Non-games Non-games Mini-games Simulation Action Action/Adventure Quiz Sports Puzzle

EA EA EA EA Warner Games Ubisoft Ubisoft Mindscape Warner Games Activision Blizzard Warner Games

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EA

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Majesco Nintendo

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DS Wii

Simulation Self-Improvement

Ubisoft Ubisoft

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PC PC / PS3 / XBOX 360 PC / PS3 / XBOX 360 Wii

FPS Action Action Casual

City Interactive EA Capcom Zushi

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PS3 / XBOX 360 DS / Wii

Action Racing

Sega Zushi

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NOVEMBER TBC Animal Country: Life On The Farm Ballerina Brain College: 3 Days Zoo Mystery Dancing On Ice EA Sports Active: More Workouts Invizimals Jambo! Safari Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja 5 Party Designer Wheelspin

DECEMBER 3rd LOTRO: Siege Of Mirkwood

DECEMBER 4th FLIPS: Enid Blyton FLIPS: Eoin Colfer FLIPS: Cathy Cassidy FLIPS: Too Ghoul For School Game Party 3 Imagine Beauty Stylist James Cameron's Avatar: The Game Playmobil: Pirates Scene It? Bright Lights Big Screen! Tony Hawk: Ride Touchmaster 3

DECEMBER 8th The Saboteur

DECEMBER 11th Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakwal The Legend Of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

DECEMBER 18th Girls Life Sleepover Party Your Shape

JANUARY 15th Alcatraz Army Of Two: The 40th Day Dark Void Love is... in Bloom

JANUARY 29th Bayonetta Dodge Racing: Charger Vs Challenger

MUSTSTOCK .................LEGO INDIANA JONES 2 Released: November 20th Format: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS2, DS, PC Publisher: Activision Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 0121 625 3388

The sequel to the 2008 original, this features brand new levels based on Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, revamped editions of the original trilogy and a Build Your Own Adventure mode. Perfect for families and younger games, Lego Indy 2 stands to perform well this Christmas.

MUSTSTOCK .........................LEGO ROCK BAND Released: November 27th Format: Xbox 360, Wii, PS2, DS Publisher: Warner Bros Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 0121 625 3388

The popular Rock Band series gets a LEGO makeover, bringing the familiar rhythm action gameplay to families everywhere. The accessible tracklist and endearing design of rock legends such as Queen and Iggy Pop should boost the game’s appeal.


RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET 50 MCV 06/11/09

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RETAIL BIZ:

NEWS

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

85%

Ratchet & Clank: Crack In Time Sony, PS3

84%

83%

81%

79%

Borderlands, PS3, 2K Games

Tropico 3, PC, Deep Silver

A Boy and his Blob, Wii, Majesco

Ghostbusters, 360, Atari

*Metacritic scores correct at the time of going to press

DEAL OF THE WEEK

‘LONG TAIL’ EXPECTED FOR DJ HERO The co-founder of Guitar Hero Kai Huang has stated that a slow start at retail will not be unexpected for DJ Hero – although the title’s overall sales curve could prove to be more impressive. “We’re not expecting a typical video game curve where you sell the majority of the units in the first month and then it decays quickly,” Huang told IGN. “We’re expecting this to be the type of game that may come out of the gate a little bit slower, but continue to grow over time.” Huang added that he also expects that the series’ true success could come in future iterations as exposure and understanding of the title slowly grows. “Guitar Hero took three iterations to get the game out there and for people to know how it works,” he said PES 2010 SHINES ON PS3 The PS3 has emerged as the clear platform of choice for Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer. The PS3 version of PES 2010, which was released last Friday, accounted for 66 per cent of the game’s overall sales, with Xbox

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT WILL SELL NINTENDO WII THIS CHRISTMAS?

TITLE/FORMAT

36%

1 2

NEW

BORDERLANDS 360

3

NEW

PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010 PS3

More than a third of participants in the latest MCV online survey have faith that Nintendo’s new Wii SKU will perform well at retail, while another third believe New Super Mario Bros Wii will outsell the platform holder’s other titles.

34%

Black Wii

PUBLISHER

FORZA MOTORSPORT 3 FORMAT: 360

OCTOBER BOOM ON HIGH STREET UK High Street sales in the year up to October showed the most positive rate of growth in two years, research has shown. The CBI’s latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey showed that the High Street expects even stronger growth in November. 41 per cent of respondents to the survey said that sales volumes had risen in the year to October, while 33 per cent said they were down. 19 per cent of retailers expected sales to increase in November – the most optimistic projection since July 2007. In terms of stock, three per cent of firms said the volume of orders placed had fallen, but many predicted orders would rise in November.

MCV POLL

INDIE CHARTS - ALL FORMATS LAST WEEK

360 claiming less than half that (32 per cent). The PC version claimed just two per cent of the week one sales. However, despite storming to the top of the UK charts, PES 2010 actually fared far worse at retail than its predecessor, PES 2009, selling 39 per cent fewer copies in its first weekend.

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

Gamers save £50 at Zavvi when they buy a 120Gb PS3 Slim, PES 2010, a HDMI cable and Basic Instinct on Blu-ray for £279.95.

THIS WEEK

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

New Super Mario Bros Wii

DEVELOPER: TURN 10 PUBLISHER: MICROSOFT 2K GAMES KONAMI

4

NEW

WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2010 360

5

NEW

FORZA MOTORSPORT 3: LIMITED EDITION 360

6

NEW

WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2010 360

THQ

7

NEW

WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2010 PS3

THQ

THQ

5%

14% Wii Fit Plus

MICROSOFT

8

1

UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES PS3

9

6

OPERATION FLASHPOINT 2 PS3

CODEMASTERS

10

5

OPERATION FLASHPOINT 2 360

CODEMASTERS

11% Wii Sports Resort

MARGIN MAKER

SONY

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.

Introducing the new

Mario & Sonic: Olympic Winter Games

Thrustmaster’s Best Of Pack features 15 essential items for DSi owners. The central piece is a travel bag which safely houses the handheld, and is accompanied by three game card storage cases. Also included is a car charger and emergency

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

charger. There are three replacement stylus pens, a cleaning cloth and screen protectors, a wrist strap and high quality earphones. The pack is available in black, white and pack. Guillemot: 01932 557546 Exclusively Distributed by

Accessory Pack for the Nintendo DS Available for Christmas

TM

Peppa Pig © Astley Baker Davies Ltd / E1 Entertainment UK Ltd 2003. All Rights Reserved. Developed and Produced by Asylum Entertainment Ltd. The names Pinnacle, Pinnacle Software and Pinnacle Entertainment Ltd and associated logos as used in this game are under license to P2 Games Ltd. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Nintendo DS is a trademark of Nintendo.

To order CALL NOW on

0870 027 8700


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MCV 06/11/09 51 Sponsored by

hurt our sales, but I guess we are all in the same boat. Another concern this year is getting our staffing levels just right for the busy period: too many staff and they just stand around getting paid to drink tea and coffee, too few and they burn out after a week of hard work.

FROM THE [PRE ORDERS]

TOP 10 COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 360 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD 2. FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010

PC ........................................................................SEGA

3. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2

PS3 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

4. MAG: MASSIVE ACTION

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

5. WII CONSOLE: BLACK EDITION

FRONTLINE Nindie.com speaks to online indie EverythingPlay’s MD Tony West… How has the market been for you so far this year? We have had a cracking year so far – fingers crossed – and our sales are up year-on-year by 200 per cent. We are branching into lots of new areas of sales such as DVD, books and music so the future is looking really bright as well. We have seen a lot of new customers shop with us as well as lots of repeat buying through the year.

WII ................................................................NINTENDO

6. ASSASSIN’S CREED II

PS3 ..................................................................UBISOFT

7. ASSASSIN’S CREED II

360 ..................................................................UBISOFT

8. LEFT 4 DEAD 2

360 ..........................................................................EA

9. BORDERLANDS

What makes your site unique? I think it’s the ease of use and our layout. We are constantly told that our site is really easy to use. Another key USP is we show our customers the basket total at the top of our page from the moment

they start to shop and this includes the shipping cost if there is one. I find it so annoying when I am shopping online and I find a great deal only to get all the way to the payment stage and see the merchant has adding £4 or £5 shipping to my order. What are the biggest challenges facing your site? The Royal Mail strikes are a real concern. We are giving our customers the option to upgrade to a courier service but people want free delivery nowadays. With Royal Mail striking between now and Christmas, I am genuinely worried it will

What has been performing well? PC games for us are on the up. In particular, the Oblivion: Knights of the Nine expansion pack – we just can’t get enough of those right now. Also Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box has done really well for us and continues to sell through. What has been underperforming? The Wii hasn’t performed how I thought it would. However, there are signs of an uplift this week – the new bundle is great value so its weird we haven’t seen a spike in sales. Have you noticed any changes in your customer demographic over the last year? We are seeing younger and younger customers who are hardcore gamers after the best price for their new releases.

360 ................................................................2K GAMES

10. GOD OF WAR III

PS3 ......................................................................SONY Week ending October 30th Source: SHOPTO.COM

PRICE CHECK

[PRE ORDERS]

TOP 10

Borderlands PS3, 2K Games

PES 2010 PS3, Konami

WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2010 Wii, THQ

Lips: No.1 Hits (Solus) 360, Microsoft

Forza Motorsport 3 360, Microsoft

IN STORE: BIRMINGHAM

WII FIT PLUS WII NINTENDO

2. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2

360 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

£39.99

£34.99

£34.99

£29.99

£39.99

£39.99

£37.99

£39.99

£34.99

£39.99

£39.99

£37.99

£39.99

£34.99

£38.99

£38.99

£38.99

£34.29

N/A

£38.99

£31.38

£34.20

£29.99

£40.19

£34.99

£32.99

£34.99

£29.99

£24.99

£34.99

£29.95

£29.95

£29.95

£29.95

£37.95

£29.99

£34.95

£29.99

£28.99

£38.99

3. FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010

PC ........................................................................SEGA

4. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2

PS3 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

5. WII FIT PLUS: WITH BALANCE BOARD

WII ................................................................NINTENDO

6. DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS

PC ............................................................................EA

7. TEKKEN 6

PS3 ........................................................NAMCO BANDAI

8. ASSASSINS CREED II

360 ..................................................................UBISOFT

9. GTA: EPISODES LIBERTY CITY

ONLINE

360 ................................................................ROCKSTAR

10. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2

PC ..................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD Week ending October 30th Source: AMAZON.CO.UK

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


RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS 52 MCV 06/11/09

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Check out RETAILBIZ at WWW.MCVUK.COM

OFFICIALUKCHARTS NINTENDO DS THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

[1] [FULL PRICE]

TITLE

TOP 40ALL

PUBLISHER

1

PROFESSOR LAYTON: PANDORA’S BOX

2 3 4 5 6 7

2 3 4 27 5 8

MARIO & SONIC: WINTER OLYMPICS DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING RHYTHM PARADISE STYLE BOUTIQUE PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE MARIO KART DS

8 9 10

6 7 10

UP FIFA 10 NEW SUPER MARIO BROS

DEVELOPER: LEVEL 5 PUBLISHER: NINTENDO SEGA NINTENDO NINTENDO NINTENDO

[ENTERTAINMENT - ALL PRICES]

[2]

1

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

LAST WEEK

TITLE

NINTENDO

2

NEW

WII FIT PLUS Wii

THQ

3

3

FIFA 10 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS, PC, PSP

4

2

FORZA MOTORSPORT 3 360

1

PES 2010 360, PS3, PC

EA NINTENDO

PUBLISHER

1

FIFA 10

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 BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE D3P DISNEY SING IT: POP HITS DISNEY UP THQ HARRY POTTER: HALF BLOOD PRINCE EA

2 3 4 5 6 8 7 9 11

PSP THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

5

GRAN TURISMO SONY FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010 SEGA GTA: CHINATOWN WARS ROCKSTAR WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2010 THQ DISSIDIA: FINAL FANTASY SQUARE ENIX NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT EA MOTORSTORM: ARCTIC EDGE SONY MONSTER HUNTER: FREEDOM UNITE CAPCOM LEGO BATMAN WARNER BROS.

RE

DEVELOPER: EA CANADA PUBLISHER: EA

[5]

PUBLISHER NINTENDO EA MICROSOFT KONAMI

GTA: EPISODES FROM LIBERTY CITIES 360 ROCKSTAR

7

4

MARIO & SONIC: WINTER OLYPMICS Wii

8

NEW

TEKKEN 6 360, PS3

SEGA NAMCO BANDAI

9

7

BORDERLANDS 360, PS3, PC

2K GAMES

10

8

WII SPORTS RESORT Wii

NINTENDO

11

5

WWE SMACKDOWN 2010 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PS2, PSP

12

6

UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES PS3

THQ SONY

13

9

NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT 360, PS3, PSP, PC

EA

14

10

OPERATION FLASHPOINT 2 360, PS3, PC

CODEMASTERS

15

19

LEGO BATMAN PC, DS, PS3, 360, Wii, PSP

16

11

PROFESSOR LAYTON: PANDORA’S BOX DS NINTENDO

17

13

WII FIT Wii

18

18

EYEPET PS3

SONY

19

15

SUPER SMASH BROS. BRAWL Wii

NEW

DJ HERO 360, PS3, Wii, PS2

1

NINTENDO

NINTENDO

20

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

PUBLISHER

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

4 3 5 6 7 8

NEW

PC CD-ROM

FIFA 10

1

[4]

[FULL PRICE]

1 NEW

[3]

DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA

TITLE

DEVELOPER: SPORTS INTERACTIVE PUBLISHER: SEGA

THIS WEEK

[FULL PRICE]

TITLE

FORMAT: PC

NINTENDO

6

PLAYSTATION 2

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010

NINTENDO ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

[FULL PRICE]

TITLE

PUBLISHER

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010 DEVELOPER: SPORTS INTERACTIVE PUBLISHER: SEGA BORDERLANDS

2

NEW

3

1

THE SIMS 3

4

3

CHAMPIONSHIP MANAGER 2010

5

4

OPERATION FLASHPOINT: DRAGON RISING CODEMASTERS

6

5

FALLOUT 3: GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION

7

6

WOW: WRATH OF LICH KING

8

NEW

9

2

PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010

10

7

EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR

FIFA MANAGER 10

2K GAMES EA EIDOS

BETHESDA

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA KONAMI SEGA


RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 06/11/09 53

football title to hit the No.1 spot since the start of October, proving the Beautiful Game is still a lucrative source for the industry. Rival footy releases make up three of the top five this week. EA’s FIFA 10 enjoyed a three per cent rise in sales, putting it at No.3, while a 54 per cent drop in sales sees Konami’s Pro

Evolution Soccer 2010 slip to No. 5.

PS3

FORMATS

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

Highest New Entry

21

21

MARIO KART WII Wii

22

14

HALO 3: ODST 360

23

29

PURE 360, PS3, PC

24

20

GRAND THEFT AUTO IV PC, PS3, 360

25

16

GUITAR HERO 5 360, PS3, Wii, PS2

NINTENDO MICROSOFT DISNEY ROCKSTAR

12

FALLOUT 3: GAME OF THE YEAR PS3, 360, PC

27

23

UP Wii, PS3, 360, PC, PSP, PS2,

28

26

LEGO STAR WARS: SAGA 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, DS, PSP LUCASARTS

29

24

BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM 360, PS3

30

22

STAR WARS CLONE WARS 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, DS, PSP LUCASARTS

31

25

DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DS

NINTENDO

32

35

LEGO INDIANA JONES PSP, 360, Wii, PS3, PS2, PC, DS

LUCASARTS

33

28

WII PLAY Wii

BETHESDA THQ

EIDOS

NINTENDO

34

RE

35

31

THE BEATLES: ROCK BAND 360, PS3, Wii, PS2 RHYTHM PARADISE DS

36

17

BRUTAL LEGEND PC, PS3, 360

37

RE

STYLE BOUTIQUE DS

38

RE

LITTLEBIGPLANET PS3

39

27

COLIN MCRAE: DIRT 2 360, PS3 ,Wii, DS, PSP

40

32

PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE DS NINTENDO

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

1 6 2 8 4 13 11 5 14

EA NINTENDO EA NINTENDO SONY CODEMASTERS

TITLE

PUBLISHER

PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

FIFA 10 TEKKEN 6 UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2010 NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT BORDERLANDS OPERATION FLASHPOINT: DRAGON RISING BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM FALLOUT 3: GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION

3 2 4 5 6 7 9 8

DEVELOPER: PES PRODUCTIONS PUBLISHER: KONAMI

WII THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

EA NAMCO BANDAI SONY THQ EA 2K GAMES CODEMASTERS EIDOS BETHESDA

[FULL PRICE] TITLE

TITLE

PUBLISHER

BEJEWLED TWIST DEVELOPER: POPCAP PUBLISHER: FOCUS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

ROLLERCOASTER TYCOON

MASTERTRONIC

MYSTERY CASE FILES: RAVENHEARST

FOCUS

WORLD OF WARCRAFT

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

ESCAPE THE MUSEUM

GSP/AVANQUEST

MYSTERY IN LONDON: JACK THE RIPPER ESONIC MAGE COLLECTION PLUS JEWEL QUEST III MYSTERY CASE FILES: PRIME SUSPECTS

FOCUS SEGA

GSP/AVANQUEST FOCUS

PUBLISHER

1

WII SPORTS RESORT

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES WII FIT MARIO KART WII FIFA 10 GUITAR HERO 5 TOY STORY MANIA THE BEATLES: ROCK BAND STAR WARS: CLONE WARS - REPUBLIC HEROES UP

1 3 5 6 7 8 15 9 14

DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO

XBOX 360

[BUDGET PRICE]

WOW: BATTLE CHEST

[FULL PRICE]

1 NEW

WEEK ENDING 31/10/09

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

26

PC CD-ROM

Sega’s chart success contiues with Mario & Sonic holding on to a Top 10 position, despite a 34 per cent drop in sales. Football Manager 2010 fended off strong competition from a number of new entries such as Wii Fit Plus, which settles for second place. Meanwhile, GTA: Episodes From Liberty City and Tekken 6 take No.6 and No.8 respectively. James.Batchelor@intentmedia.co.uk

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

TITLE

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

GTA: EPISODES FROM LIBERTY CITY FIFA 10 BORDERLANDS PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010 TEKKEN 6 WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2010 HALO 3: ODST OPERATION FLASHPOINT: DRAGON RISING NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT

3 4 2 NEW

5 6 7 8

SEGA NINTENDO NINTENDO EA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD DISNEY EA LUCASARTS THQ

[FULL PRICE]

FORZA MOTORSPORT 3

NEW

(c) ELSPA, Compiled by ChartTrack

SEGA’S FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010 is the third

PUBLISHER

DEVELOPER: TURN 10 PUBLISHER: MICORSOFT ROCKSTAR EA 2K GAMES KONAMI NAMCO BANDAI THQ MICROSOFT CODEMASTERS EA

[SOURCE]

[ANALYSIS]


INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 54 MCV 06/11/09

WWW.MCVUK.COM

International Distribution Guide AUSTRALIA

ESTONIA

ISRAEL

RUSSIA

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

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

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

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

AUSTRIA

FINLAND

ITALY

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

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

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

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

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

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

Play Art Multimedia Handels GmbH....Rankweil

BELGIUM

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

FRANCE

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

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

Leader Spa.................................Gazzada Schianno

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

Newave Italia...................................................Firenze

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

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

BENELUX

NETHERLANDS

SERBIA COMPUTERLAND DOO Kumodraska 45 11000 Belgrade, Serbia

INNELEC MULTIMEDIA

EBS-Benelux...........................................Bunschoten

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

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

mail:games@computerland.rs

Email purchase: f_alglave@innelec.com

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

website:www.computerland.rs

GAMEWORLD

Email export sales: g_armspach@innelec.com

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

Cornusbaan 1, 2908 KB Capelle A/D IJssel

Tel: 00.33.1.48.10.55.55

NEW ZEALAND

Tel: +31 10 298 3838 Web: rishi@gameworld.nl

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

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

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

NORWAY

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

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

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

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

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

SOUTH AFRICA Midigital ..............................................Johannesburg Nu Metro Interactive ......................Johannesburg

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

SPAIN

Lorentzweg 1

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

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

3752 LH Bunschoten-Spakenburg

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

EBS Benelux

The Netherlands

GREECE

Distribuciones Videográficas Digitales ....MADRID

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

Phone: +31 (0)33 201 21 00

Centric ...............................................................Athens

POLAND

Fax: +31 (0)33 201 21 01

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

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

E-mail: info@ebs-benelux.com

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

PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE

Website: www.ebs-benelux.com

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

CYPRUS

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

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

GOODTONES GREAT GAMES LTD

Sena ................................................................Reykavik

1 Alkaiou Street / Office 1 /

INDIA

tel. +357 22 666612 www.greatgames.com.cy

ul. Jana Szczyrki 12, 54-426 Wroclaw, Poland

ICELAND

Engomi / Nicosia 2404 / Cyprus

TECHLAND Sp. z o.o.

E-mail: business@techland.pl

Barcelona, Spain, Tel: +34 93 492 08 89 distributioninteractive@planetadeagostini.es www.planetadeagostini.net

Web: www.techland.pl Phone: +48 71 354 46 10 Fax: +48 71 354 46 10

VIRGIN PLAY

PORTUGAL ecofilmes...............................Sao Joao Da Madeira

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

DENMARK

Web: www.virginplay.es

DistribucionesVideográficas Digitales ....Madrid

GATEWAY DISTRIBUTION APS Gateway Distribution ApS +44 1279 408 665 (UK) +45 7026 0870 (DK) dt@gatewaydistribution.dk www.gatewaydistribution.dk

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

Distribuye Palmera................................Las Palmas JC Distribuciones .............................................Getxo Shine Star, S.A...........................................Barcelona

Lisbon, Portugal Tel. 00351 21 31 46 51 0 Fax 00351 21 31 61 12 5

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

TO ADVERTISE IN THE INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION GUIDE


INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 06/11/09 55

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

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

USA

UAE

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: info@gameoutlet.se Website: www.gameoutlet.se

Video Games Distributor in the Middle East P.O BOX 16999 Jebel Ali Free Zone Dubai U.A.E. Tel: 00971 4 883 5960 Fax: 00971 4 883 5175 E-Mail: marketing@alesayi.ae 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

 AFTER WHAT seems like a prolonged period of decline in the North American video games market, the latest numbers from sales tracker NPD show that the sector enjoyed year-on-year growth in September. In fact, the month was the second biggest September the NPD has ever recorded, beaten in revenue terms only by September 2007 in which Microsoft released Halo 3. However, in unit terms the monthly performance was actually flat compared to the same period last year – the increases are down to a rise in retail prices. “The industry managed a modest increase over September 2008, and generated the second bestselling September on record after 2007 when Halo 3 released and sold over three million copies that month,” NPD’s Anita Frazier stated.

www.pluto-games.com

TURKEY

Tel: +971 4261 8111 Fax: +971 4261 8112

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

UNITED STATES

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: sales@bascodistribution.com Web: www.bascodistribution.com

U.S. GAMES DISTRIBUTION, INC. 16700 Schoenborn St. #2 North Hills, CA. 91343 Tel: +1 818 920 9393 info@usgamesdist.com www.usgamesdist.com

 IT HAS been officially confirmed that online streaming movie rental service Netflix is heading to PS3 in North America in November. Netflix has been available to Xbox 360 users in the region since last year. The PS3 service will cost $8.99 a month. For that price users will be able to watch an unlimited number of movies and TV shows from Netflix’s online library. Users who wish to use the service will need to obtain a ‘instant streaming’ Blu-ray disc from Netflix. “The PS3 has always been about more than just gaming, and it will soon be the only platform in the industry to offer consumers such a variety of convenient options for enjoying movies and TV shows,” SCEA president and CEO Jack Tretton stated. “Whether you want to watch content on Blu-ray disc and DVD, download it from the PlayStation Network’s video delivery service, or stream videos instantly from Netflix, the PS3 system is the only solution that offers it all.” Netflix currently boasts over 11 million subscribers in the US.

FRANCE

 EUROPEAN POWERHOUSE France has ushered in controversial new legislation that looks to cut off the internet connections of those found to have pirated movies, music and games online. Offenders face being cut off from the internet for up to a year. A new Government agency has been established to govern the process. The three-strikes-and-you’re-out policy has received plenty of opposition, though many procopyright campaigners are keen to see similar measure introduced on this side of the Channel. “France is acting as a spearhead,” director general of the French music industry association David El Sayegh stated. “Piracy is not just a French problem, it is a global problem.”

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DISC REPAIR TDR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01202 489 500 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 Keyne Distribution. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01908 821046 Logic3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471 000 Meroncourt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01462 680060 GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR Total Console Repair Ltd . . . . . . . . . . . 087 19 18 17 21

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...bringing you all the right lines

GAMING ACCESSORIES Pinpoint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01606 558 428 LOCALISATION Partnertrans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 247731 Testronic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 653 722 Universally Speaking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01480 210621

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or email: enquires@pinpointce.co.uk

STORE FITTINGS AMA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01924 507217 Retail Entertainment Displays . . . . . . . 01733 239001

Road One, Winsford, Cheshire CW7 3QG www.pinpointce.co.uk Part of the Pinpoint Group

PINPOINT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01606 558428 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.pinpointce.co.uk DISTRIBUTION

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Keyne Distribution "Looking for a new reliable supplier! Look no further!"  Software and hardware distributor  All top platform new releases in stock  Flexible next day delivery to the UK and most European destinations  Over 500 different products in stock at all times  Terms of trading will be 30 days on insured Customers  Shipping is by Customers account, or on our UPS - Fedex or DHL account.  The fastest growing independent distributor in the United Kingdom

Tel: +00441908 821046 Fax: +00441908 821048 Email: carl@keynedistribution.co.uk Unit C105, MKTWO Business Centre, 1-6 Barton Road, Water Eaton Ind Est, Milton Keynes, MK2 3HU

KEYNE DISTRIBUTION . . . . . . . 01908 821046 . . . . . . carl@keynedistribution.co.uk

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


ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK DISTRIBUTION

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

SPORTS GENRE FOCUS From the ongoing battle between FIFA and PES to the rise of more unorthodox sports titles such as Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Winter Games, the sports genre has never been stronger. We look at the key titles from this popular sector that are certain to be filling sports fans’ stockings this Christmas. FRIDAY DECEMBER 11th

ANNUAL RETAIL SURVEY MCV publishes the results of its annual retailer survey, quizzing a huge number of retailers for their views on the games industry in 2009. We’ll ask retailers which products have been key, how confident they are in their business and their thoughts on what the next 12 months have in store.

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

CHRIS.DRING@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK


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Develop is the only dedicated publication for the UK and European games development community. It reaches over 8,000 request-only subscribers every month.

STUDIOS Epic Games ......................................+1 919 870 1516 nDreams ..............................................01252 375754 Realtime Worlds ..................+44 (0) 1382 202 821 Razorback ..............................www.razorback.co.uk Stainless Games ..........jobs@stainlessgames.com

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

TOOLS Blitz Games Studios .........+44 (0) 1926 880 000 bluegfx .................................+44 (0) 1483 467 200 Crytek............................................+49 69219 77660

SERVICES amBX UK Ltd. ..................................www.ambx.com Ian Livingstone.....................+44 (0) 1483 421 491 Imagination Studios .................+46 (0) 18-106930 Onteca ...................................+44 (0) 151 709 0028

CREATIVE DISTRIBUTION. . . . 0208 6643456 . . . . www.creativedistribution.co.uk

Partnertrans ..........................+44 (0) 1753 247 731

DISTRIBUTION

TC Associates....................+44 (0) 7768 883 808 Testology...........................................07919 523 036 Universally Speaking ..........+44 (0) 1480 210 621 Xaitment ...............................+49 6897 - 600 80-0

COURSES University of Hull................+44 (0) 1482 465 951

To be included in the Develop Directory (which appears every month in Develop and every week in MCV) contact sam.robinson@intentmedia.co.uk. All subscription requests should go to mcv.subscriptions@c-cms.com GEM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01279 822800 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.gem.co.uk


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Insider’s | Guide

This week, we interview Tony Morris from legal specialists Marriott Harrison… What services does your company provide? Marriott Harrison provides legal services to the media and entertainment industries, as well as providing support for corporate transactions or litigation matters that involve elements of media and intellectual property law. We cover these industries generally, with plenty of involvement in the film and TV sectors in the past. However, nowadays, we give particular focus to the computer games and digital entertainment sector. Please tell us something we didn’t know about Marriott Harrison... We actually employ one of the first solicitors in the UK to develop a specialism for computer BDA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0777 192 7688

games – me. I started dealing with games when I was working for Mastertronic, the first budget games company, back in 1984. What are your hopes for the rest of the year? In the final quarter of 2009, my biggest hope is that the world’s economic recovery will properly get underway, which will benefit us all. What is the best thing about your job? The sheer variety and intellectual stimulation. When you look at the way in which the video games media is developing, one never really knows what situation may arise. Our team is often required to devise new ways of addressing new problems.


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AMA DISPLAYS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01924 507217 . . . . . . . . . . www.ama-displays.co.uk

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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 sales-tl@testroniclabs.com 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.


62 MCV 06/11/09

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MAILBOX

‘Price cuts won’t go away’ Indies and ‘pro-sumers’ once again had heated words with each other on MCVUK.com’s comments thread this week – this time in light of last issue’s front page news that Asda sold FIFA 10 at a loss… Before you all start – selling below cost is not illegal. It might be an unfavourable business practice but Asda are well within their rights to sell games for any price they see fit. Let’s hope they sell Modern Warfare 2 really cheap too as there’s no way I’m paying £55. I don’t think ASDA sell below cost to try and be clever. I doubt when the idea was pitched at boardroom level that folk piped up saying: ‘Hang on! That’s not very clever, is it? My mum could do that.’

Supermarket price cuts on FIFA 10 once again kicked off discussion this week on MCVUK.com

Simon Cleft

Stopping bleating that ‘there's no way I’m paying £55’. Who is going to sell the game for more than £44.99 anyway? To the original article, I wonder how much marketing support Electronic Arts paid Asda for this title? ‘Bob’

There’s no way marketing will have made up the shortfall, especially when you take into account press ads and so on. Loss leaders are the way which supermarkets have worked for years. It’s a land grab for market share – and an announcement that they sell games to the general public and the industry (to an extent). It’s nothing new and it isn’t going to go away unfortunately. Asda sold at a loss, grew share. End of story. Warwick Hunt

supermarket and buying their ridiculously slashed stock? It makes you better margin, and their price cut is normally only for the weekend or launch day anyway – meaning they will put

If the developers and/or publishers reduced the cost of games, the prices would drop. Why should retail take the pain? Sue Domin

their price back up and you can beat them... They are helping you – not destroying you. ‘Ross’

Indies, wake up! These guys are selling below what they pay their suppliers, and they buy in such volume they will be buying slightly cheaper than most indies. Why exactly are you indies not going out to the

think download prices will be cheap? They’ll be no competition and developers will be free to charge whatever price they wish. This will leave the gamer/consumer with no

If the developers/publishers reduced the cost of games the prices would drop to the levels you want. Why should the retailer take the pain? Downloading is coming, we all know that. But do you really

option but to pay full price for everything. Or as we’re already seeing, illegal torrent sites fuelling a pirate market. I do agree that games are over-priced but this isn’t driven by retail. Selling at a loss isn’t a very good long-term strategy for any business. The movement must come from the other side of the fence.

Sue Domin

As an indie retailer I would love to see all triple-A games priced at £25-£30 as I believe that the public would buy more – as shown by FIFA 10, which sold huge amounts because of its £25 price. But how can we do this when the publishers and distributors charge retail so much for their games? FIFA 10 cost us £32 plus VAT (£36.80). Forza 3 costs us £33.18 plus VAT (£38.16). When Asda sells at a loss the publishers are rubbing their hands – because they still get their high wedge. If Asda or any other retailer wants to sell products at a loss then that is their choice. They see this as offering a certain customer value but at what cost. How many of you have seen vast increases in the price of bread, milk and groceries?

This is because they have spread the losses across the board. All shoppers are paying the price for cheap games whether they buy them or not. ‘Indie RIP’

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

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OMPETITION • COMPETITION • COMPETITION • COMPETITION • COMPETITION • COMPETITION • COMPETITION • COMPETITION

To celebrate the launch of We Sing, the first karaoke game to feature four simultaneous singers with four microphones... together, Nordic Games are offering FOUR lucky Winners a chance to each win a WE SING pack, consisting of a copy of the game and FOUR Microphones.

Q: WHICH SONG IS NOT IN “WE SING”? a) Lady GaGa – Poker Face b) Lily Allen – The Fear c) Las Ketchup – The Ketchup Song Send your answer to wesing@intentmedia.co.uk


64 MCV 06/11/09

Off The Record

WWW.MCVUK.COM

This week, we look back on the annual industry gettogether that is Futureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Golden Joysticks...


WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 06/11/09 65

RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD

MCV takes soundings from its Retail Advisory Board on the biggest issues of the day. The current members are... LISA MORGAN, GAME

DUNCAN CROSS, ASDA

MARTYN GIBBS, GAMESTATION

DON MCCABE, CHIPS

TIM ELLIS, HMV

‘STICK IT TO ‘EM When it comes to the Joysticks, it’s always better to let the photos do the talking. Dotted around these pages (among others) we have: Official Nintendo Magazine’s Neil Long; ELSPA’s Mike Rawlinson; Namco Bandai’s Lee Kirton; The Hut’s Richard Chapple; D3P’s Adam Roberts (and team); Activision’s Johanna Hakala, Scott Wood and Simon Wells; Indigo Pearl’s Caroline Miller; Koch’s Craig McNicol (and team); Warner’s Phil Lamb; Nintendo’s James Honeywell, David Yarnton and Andy Yates; Codemasters’ Chris Deering; Microsoft’s Chris East; Capcom’s Leo Tan; Sports Interactive’s Miles Jacobson; Blizzard’s George Georgiou; Sega’s Amanda Farr, Jo Fawell, Stefan McGarry and Kate Billingham; and Amazon’s Brian Foote.

KEITH SHARPE, PLAY.COM

SARAH JASPER, THE HUT

JON BIGGS, MORRISONS

AZEEM SADIQ, COMET

GRAHAM CHAMBERS, AMAZON

PETER WILLIS, DSGI

IGOR CIPOLLETTA, SHOPTO

ANTHONY STOCKER, ARGOS

STEPHEN STALEY, GAMESEEK

JOANNA HUNT, TESCO

GURDEEP HUNJAN, SAINSBURY’S


66 MCV 06/11/09

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OFF THE RECORD IN CONTROL Xbox 360 launched its Sky Player last week – backed by this oestrogen-heavy promotion, featuring two of the most eye-pleasing Sky Sport presenters. We’d like to know where ex-Soccer Saturday ladette Helen Chamberlain and the very demure Charlotte Jackson got their gigantic Xbox 360 from, though. Ours is nowhere near as big as that – and our Sky remote is dwarfed in comparison. Just as well judging by Charlotte’s frightened face, it looks genuinely terrifying.

FATHER & SON(G) Games industry veteran Nigel Mason has released a version of Cat Steven’s Father & Son with his own offspring, Alex – to raise money for the Caron Keating Breast Cancer charity, in memory of their wife/mother Sally. You can view the song on YouTube (just type in ‘father son Nigel’), where there’s a link to purchase it from iTunes. Over to ELSPA chairman Andy Payne: “Nigel was one of the best blokes I’ve ever worked with and gave The Producers their first break when he ran Beau Jolly back in ‘88. This is an amazingly brilliant version of a classic song.” All purchases/donations are welcomed.

EDITORIAL: 01992 535646



Managing Editor: Lisa Foster Lisa.Foster@intentmedia.co.uk

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MCV, Intent Media, Saxon House, 6a St. Andrew Street, Hertford SG14 1JA.

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Contributors: Ed Fear, Andrew Wooden, Will Freeman, Rob Crossley

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FAX: 01992 535648 Finance Director: Hilary Cole Finance Manager: Michael Canham Michael.Canham@intentmedia.co.uk

Managing Director/Publisher: Stuart Dinsey Stuart.Dinsey@intentmedia.co.uk Telephone: 01992 535688

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MCV is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation and the Periodical Publishers Association. Membership of the ABC and PPA provides our advertising partners with confidence in our circulation statements. For the 12 months ending December 2008, MCV had an average weekly net circulation of 8,833. MCV’s circulation is 100 per cent named and zero per cent duplicated.

ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS United Kingdom £150 l Europe £175 l Rest of the World £250 To order your subscription via Visa, Mastercard, Switch or AMEX or to make changes to your subscription details, contact mcv.subscriptions@c-cms.com or call 01580 883848.

SAXON HOUSE, 6A ST. ANDREW STREET, HERTFORD, HERTFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND SG14 1JA Intent Media specialises in trade-dedicated print and digital publishing for entertainment and leisure markets. As well as MCV, Intent publishes Develop, PCR, ToyNews, Mobile Entertainment, MI Pro, Audio Pro International and BikeBiz. It also has two online-only brands: CasualGaming.biz, dedicated to the growing mass market video game sector, and Licensing.biz, for everyone in the global licensing industry. It also runs a number of events including the MCV Industry Excellence Awards, the London Games Conference and the Games Media Awards.

www.intentmedia.co.uk

ISSN: 1469-4832 Copyright 2008

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MCV563 NOVEMBER 13th 2009