THE INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
Friday November 13 2009 £3.25
THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES
ISSUE 563 FRIDAY NOVEMBER 13 2009 £3.25
Natal launch details revealed Nov 2010 release 5m units global ship 14 games £30 price? by Michael French MCV CAN THIS week reveal first details regarding the launch of Microsoft’s Project Natal. Our sources say the innovative, controller-free 360 camera will be released worldwide in November 2010. Microsoft is planning to manufacture five million units for day one, with a mix of
publishers and studios, hosting behind-closed-doors demos of the tech to spur more development support. Natal was unveiled earlier this year at E3 in Los Angeles. The device uses an array of cameras and microphones to track player movements. Activision, Bethesda, Capcom, Disney, EA, Konami, MTV, Namco Bandai, Sega,
Natal is perceived by many – Microsoft included – as a way to lengthen the lifespan of the 360 hardware on the market.
console and camera packs plus solus SKUs expected. The device is likely to cost under £50 when sold solo. One publishing source said Xbox is “trying to get as close as possible to ‘impulse buy’”. Another told MCV that the camera could retail for just £30. 14 games are being readied for launch. Microsoft is currently on a tour of UK
Square Enix, THQ and Ubisoft have all committed to make games for the device. It’s expected a large chunk of launch games will be firstparty offerings from studios such as Rare with third-party games to follow. It is not known if Lionhead’s widelydiscussed Milo, which uses advanced AI to create realistic characters, will be in the mix.
FINAL FANTASY XIII HYPE BUILDS
...WHILE ALAN WAKES UP IN MAY MCV CAN ALSO reveal 360 action title Alan Wake will be released globally in May 2010. A Microsoft-published adventure developed by Finnish studio Remedy, Alan Wake will be promoted in the style of a Hollywood movie, we understand. The long-awaited game has been in development for five years.
The Natal camera tracks player movements in detail using a sophisticated 3D camera
Natal will arrive almost five years to the day after the Xbox 360 and is perceived by many, Microsoft included, as a way to lengthen the lifespan of the hardware without resorting to a new console launch. The first Xbox was sold in the UK for only three years before 360 hit.
This summer Xbox studios boss Phil Spencer told MCV the 360 still “hasn’t peaked”. “When Natal arrives it will feel like a new generation has come,” he said. “I see it like the launch of 360 in November ‘05. Consumers don’t want another $400 box right now.”
New UK publisher emerges by Michael French
SQUARE ENIX IS keeping schtum about a long-awaited Final Fantasy XIII trailer that airs today (Friday, November 13th). All the firm says is that the video reveals ‘very big news’. Brand VP Larry Sparks told MCV: “We have created a special video to share this exciting news with as many people as possible.” Visit MCVUK.com on Friday to see the trailer in full
Sony has said it will launch PS3’s motion-sensing wand peripheral – movement of which is tracked by the alreadyavailable PlayStation Eye camera – before Microsoft’s kit in spring 2010. However, so far the Japanese firm has kept details of the launch closely under wraps.
THE ALREADY PACKED software market for Nintendo platforms is about to get busier thanks to a new UK firm. Bedfordshire-based publisher Enjoy Gaming will launch a raft of new IPs for Wii and DS early next year before widening its remit to next-gen consoles, MCV can reveal. Headed by UK games development veteran Paul
Tresise, Enjoy will launch DSiexclusive camera game System Flaw in February along with Wii titles including Yoga and Vegas Party. The firm plans to release 20 titles over the next 12 months developed by a mix of in-house and external teams.
Tresise told MCV: “Between us we’ve built scores of connections in the industry, which have proved vital for the successful start of Enjoy. “For a new publisher, we are fortunate enough to be able to bring a great range of original, innovative games to market. Enjoy is an exciting company with big plans and partnerships with others allows us to create something which we know is going to develop and grow.”
PERSONNEL 54 RETAIL BIZ 55 NEW RELEASES 60 HIGH STREET 62 CHARTS 64
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[LEADER] 2010 – LET’S CALL IT A COMEBACK LAST WEEK WE pointed out that the industry has pretty much reconciled itself to the fact that 2009 will not be as stellar a year for games as 2008 was. No one’s given up on 2009: With supermarket price slashing and customer demand at fever pitch over the new Call of Duty, plus a new Assassin’s Creed in the offing, there's clearly money to be had on the High Street this side of Christmas. But certainly this year doesn’t really send the decade out on a high, given the arguably barer-thanusual release schedule. So maybe 2010 will prove this recession year was just a blip? There is certainly a more rounded release schedule ready to kick off the next decade. But the big priority for the trade is making sure these releases are spread across the year. Key titles in 2008 were well paced and not released in drips, drabs and the Q4 glut as they were once upon a time – and were again in 2009. Publishers still have a real responsibility to make sure this isn’t the case in 2010. Retail can only work with what it is given, after all. And our regular explorations into digital distribution have proven that the High Street is still an important revenue stream. Project Natal and Final Fantasy XIII could well bookend the year, with specifically timed key titles from Nintendo, THQ and Blizzard around them. But that leaves plenty of room for others – so who’s brave enough to step into the gaps?
ROOM FOR A LITTLE ONE? It’s not often that MCV gets to write ‘New UK publisher appears’. Indeed, with the demise of firms like Empire and Oxygen, Team MCV has been more used to writing about grumpy employees and administrators when it comes to small publishers. Which makes new publisher Enjoy Gaming an interesting company. They might have picked a tough year to start in – but at least from that point of view things can only get better for them. And starting small on some specialised DS, Wii and PC games should prove to be a confident beginning. Same goes for Martin Spiess’ Tradewest – the dark horse to Enjoy’s underdog.
Ubisoft readies ‘biggest Pre-orders soar for Assassin’s Creed II as glowing review scores roll by James Batchelor WITH MODERN WARFARE now in stores, retail is turning its attentions to the next monster hit: Assassin’s Creed II. Ubisoft has revealed to MCV that the title is the biggest in its history – with a marketing spend that matches up to the publisher’s ambition. “Assassin’s Creed II will undoubtedly be Ubisoft’s biggest ever launch and will benefit from our biggest ever marketing campaign,” Ubisoft marketing director Murray Pannell told MCV. “We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive reaction. The media coverage has been genuinely fantastic and I’m delighted that the reviews have been nothing other than glowing.” UK MD Rob Cooper added: “The Assassin’s Creed brand is now extremely well recognised. I know we have a blockbuster game on our hands that will deliver a great experience for both hardcore and mainstream gamers alike.” The sequel to the 2007 hit has received positive scores across the board ahead of its November 20th release. It was
Assassin’s Creed II is our biggest ever release, with our biggest ever marketing campaign. Murray Pannell, Ubisoft
awarded 9/10 from OPM and OXM, 94 per cent from GamesMaster and PSM3 and a full score of 5/5 from 360. “I’m very satisfied with the press reaction to Assassin’s
Creed II,” said UK PR manager Stefano Petrullo. “The enthusiasm across all of the reviews testifies that we have delivered one of the biggest games of the year.”
READY FOR MEDAL OF HONOR: MODERN WARFARE?
EA GOES FISHING AS WE GO to press this week, news broke confirming Electronic Arts’ big-money acquisition of Playfish. The firm is paying a cool $300m for the London HQ’d social gaming experts – with an extra $100m promised if its incredibly popular Facebook games perform in line with expectations. Co-founder Kristian Segerstrale was one of the few speakers at London Games Conference to explicitly say optical discs were facing extinction in games. They might not say it on the record yet – but I bet those signing the cheques at EA whole-heartedly agree. Michael.French@intentmedia.co.uk
Modern Warfare 2 isn’t the only slice of non-historical conflict that games consumers will enjoy in the next few months: MCV understands that the next iteration in EA’s Medal Of Honor series will be set in the current day. The title is expected to be released in February/March 2010, our sources tell us – so we’re guessing an announcement is imminent. Bombs away...
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ever’ release in for French publisher’s stealthy sequel
Guitar Hero: Led Zeppelin incoming? THE GLOBAL boss of Activision’s Guitar Hero brand has told MCV that the firm is ‘evaluating’ whether to create more artist-specific releases to go up against MTV’s The Beatles: Rock Band – pointing to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd as possible candidates.
Discussing further single artist-themed Guitar Hero releases, he added: “The question of doing single band release is one we’ll evaluate. There are of course iconic bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd that I love – but we have a successful formula of variety and value. Our
TOP 10 ASSASSIN’S CREED II 360 UBISOFT
2. ASSASSIN’S CREED II PS3 ......................................UBISOFT
3. LEFT 4 DEAD 2 360 ..............................................EA
4. MAG: MASSIVE ACTION PS3 ..........................................SONY
5. GOD OF WAR III PS3 ..........................................SONY
6. NEW SUPER MARIO BROS WII ....................................NINTENDO
7. INFAMOUS PLATINUM PS3 ..........................................SONY Brand manager Jan Sanghera attributed the warm reception to the development team’s attention to consumer feedback from the first game: “They used this as a foundation on which to build Assassin’s Creed II,” she said. “This has added huge scope to the overall game structure, and real depth and variety to the core experience.” Last week, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said pre-orders
for ACII were up 80 per cent compared to the release of the original game. UK sales director Darren Bowen told MCV: “Ever since launching the first game all of the retailers have been asking when the sequel will arrive. They knew we had built a great brand and were keen for this to be followed up with the same excitement and sales as the original.” Ubisoft: 01932 578 000
Speaking in an exclusive interview, Dan Ronsensweig said that the firm was “really excited” about the release of Guitar Hero: Van Halen in February – and took the opportunity to reaffirm Activision’s dominance over its Fab Four-themed rival. “I don’t know who actually bought The Beatles: Rock Band,” he said. “I just know more people bought Guitar Hero 5.”
preliminary set list for next year is pretty amazing.” In addition, Rosensweig defended the firm’s relationship with music artists, after Courtney Love and No Doubt threatened legal action over in-game likenesses. “We have really terrific relationships with artists, labels and fans,” he said. To read our full interview with Dan Rosensweig, turn to page 15
8. GRAN TURISMO 5 PS3 ..........................................SONY
9. BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 PS3 ..............................................EA
10. DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS PS3 ..............................................EA Week ending November 7th Source: SHOPTO.COM Turn to page 63 for more pre-order charts from leading online retailers
UK SOFTWARE SALES MONITOR Your weekly guide to the UK games software market… The market suffered a slight dip of five per cent in terms of units and nine per cent in terms of value this week. Last week’s No.2, Wii Fit Plus, takes advantage of a week when only one new release dents the top ten – EA’s Dragon Age Origins, at No. 5.
[WEEKLY MARKET VALUE] Week Ending November 6th 2009
EA’s FIFA 10 takes the second spot in the All Formats chart (All Prices), but actually claimed No.1 in the Full Prices chart – by virtue of Wii Fit Plus’s solus SKU being classed as a budget release by GfK-ChartTrack. Next week’s data should see a huge uplift, following the release of Activision’s Modern Warfare 2.
Total UK Software Sales Source: ELSPA/ChartTrack and Intent Media
40 35 30 25 20 15
5 0 Wii Fit Plus took the top spot in the All Formats chart
Week Ending October 23rd
Week Ending October 31st
Week Ending November 7th
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Nintendo unleashes its ‘House of fun’ Firm believes sampling tour can attract 150,000 consumers in Q4 by Tim Ingham NINTENDO has unleashed its homely sampling tour, which will hit all areas of the UK before Christmas. The firm told MCV this week it believes that it can capture 150,000 consumers with the Nintendo House, which offers consumers the chance to play Wii Fit Plus, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks and more.
The Nintendo House will appear across the UK this Q4
NINTENDO ON TOUR Following residencies at Gateshead, Sheffield, Derby and Southampton, the Nintendo House tour will take in some of the biggest shopping centres in the UK… Metrocentre...................Gateshead ..........................................October 22nd-25th Meadowhall....................Sheffield .............................................October 22nd-25th Westfield.........................Derby ................................October 26th - 1st November Westquay........................Southampton .....................................November 5th-8th Highcross .......................Leicester ............................................November 11th-15th Bullring ...........................Birmingham....................................November 19th-22nd Centre MK ......................Milton Keynes ................................November 25th-29th St Davids One ...............Cardiff .............................................November 26th-29th Trafford Centre .............Manchester ........................................December 2nd-6th Lakeside .........................Essex ...................................................December 9th-13th Cabot Circus..................Bristol ................................................December 10th-13th Victoria Square.............Belfast ...............................................December 10th-13th Pavillions ........................Dublin................................................December 17th-20th Westfield.........................London .............................................December 16th-24th
A Professor Layton-specific tour will also take in London Victoria, Glasgow Central, Bristol and Manchester Piccadilly.
The tour also gives consumers the chance to win a ten-night family holiday to Queensland, Australia. Nintendo senior trade and promotions marketing manager Ben Taylor told MCV: “The Nintendo House allows people to try our software in a comfortable, inviting environment where they can get advice and help from our Nintendo ambassadors. “We hope that over 150,000 people will get to play on the likes of Wii Fit Plus, Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box and New Super Mario Bros. Wii.” Nintendo: 01753 483 700
ELSPA steps up pirate crack down ELSPA has vowed to “throw the book” at individuals that pirate games software and sell it to consumers this Q4. Speaking to MCV, ELSPA director general Michael Rawlinson said that the body’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (IPCU) was “already trawling the streets and the internet” to clamp down on criminal activity. Reports emerged last week that Activision Blizzard’s Modern Warfare 2 had been illegally downloaded over a week before release. In
“Of course, there are several ways to crack a fraudulent nut. A console has to be modified to play pirate games in the first place – especially Xbox 360 units. “So we are working diligently with Customs and Excise on cutting the actual supply of chips and chipping equipment to the UK.” He added that ELSPA was concerned about the in importation of counterfeit hardware can pose even darker risks to the general public as a whole.
devastating news for retail, sources suggested the game had been ripped for modded or 'flashed' Xbox 360s. Rawlinson told MCV: “ELSPA is pinpointing hackers who operate out of the UK and our crime unit is working closer than ever with the country’s police forces and trading standards departments to ensure we track them down and throw the book at them.
“Trading Standards tested some Nintendo products last year that clearly turned out to be fakes,” said Rawlinson. “Many failed basic electricity safety tests and could deliver more than disappointment if opened on Christmas Day – they had the potential to be lethal.” To read our full interview with ELSPA, please turn to page 24
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Tradewest promotes Howard to UK MD Popular former Midway Europe sales boss joins CEO Martin Spiess at new publishing and distribution start-up by Michael French MARTIN SPIESS' NEW publishing outfit Tradewest is already marking its territory in the UK – it has promoted Nick Howard to MD. Howard will oversee UK sales and marketing at the European games publisher, which was formed via an MBO by Spiess when Midway Europe closed down during the summer (see ‘Who is Tradewest?’). He previously worked with the Tradewest team when at Midway as European sales director – he has over 12 years experience in the industry, having also worked at GSP Software and Koch Media.
WHO IS TRADEWEST?
Former Midway exec Nick Howard becomes Tradewest’s UK boss
The Tradewest brand was resurrected in August by former Midway Games Europe MD Martin Spiess. Spiess bought the brand from Midway owner Warner Bros as the American publisher shut down – while also acquiring the UK and French offices of the firm in an MBO. Tradewest was once the video game publishing label for previous Midway owner Williams, and brought classic games like Ikari Warriors and Double Dragon to market in various territories. It was the foundations laid by the brand's efforts which allowed Midway to grow as a games publisher globally.
“We’re delighted to have Nick as our new managing director,” said Spiess, CEO of Tradewest Games. ‘’Nick has been a key contributor to our business over the years and we are confident that his appointment will accelerate Tradewest’s growth strategy.’’ Tradewest, a full service provider in games distribution and publishing, is currently in the midst of signing and establishing its product portfolio. “We’re currently in final negotiations with renowned developers and publishers in order to create a well-balanced portfolio of products,” explained Howard. Tradewest: 020 7382 7720
Saboteur gives gamers what they want, says EA ELECTRONIC ARTS believes upcoming title The Saboteur may become a surprise hit thanks to its appealing premise. The publisher is confident the game’s strong marketing campaign will help it be seen as a must-have release for consumers when it arrives on December 4th.
“The Saboteur delivers an experience we know gamers enjoy,” said product manager Kevin Flynn. “It’s a big sandbox world where the player has the freedom to do whatever they want and nothing is out of reach. He added: “Media advertising will be mixed but
we’ll definitely have a TV presence and strong online. Online will hopefully provide us a platform to really highlight the ‘black and white to colour’ mechanic within the game, which gives us the stylish and beautiful interpretation of Nazi-occupied Paris.” EA: 01483 463 000
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UK trade calls for open distribution Smaller distributors tell MCV the sector should cut out exclusive contracts to increase competition by James Batchelor UK DISTRIBUTORS have called upon the games industry to embrace open distribution in order to improve the sector. Several companies have claimed that an increase in competition and a greater focus
and will in time kill off a lot of small independents.” Creative Distribution managing director Gareth Dain agreed, adding that introducing open distribution across the UK and Europe would “represent a true reflection of how distribution is today”.
Publishers need to make the market more competitive rather than letting the big three dominate it. Gary Palmer, GLS Games
on business skills would offer both distributors and retailers better protection against the effects the recession. “Publishers need to make the market more competitive by offering open distribution rather than letting the big three dominate it,” said GLS Games director Gary Palmer. “They are too worried about their product being devalued. “I genuinely believe that a more open market will increase the sales of their products, as pricing for a few publishers at the moment is unreasonable
According to Ideal Software’s owner Paul Williams, Independent stores suffer particularly badly under the current distribution landscape, denied the various benefits the open distribution model would offer them. “We need to return to the old days where cash was king, and good business skills and communication rewarded you with the best price,” he said. “In that scenario, the distributor that offered the best service would win, instead of the one hiding behind an
Distributors are craving a more competitive market in order to level the playing field
exclusive where the customer has to smile through gritted teeth when ordering product. “The exclusive model does not favour the independent
customer any more – it is of no advantage for them and it offers no level of protection. What’s more, it puts retailers off stocking products rather
than encouraging them to support them.” Read more in our Distribution Special – turn to page 29
Zelda: Spirit Tracks becomes TV star UPCOMING DS adventure The Legend Of Zelda: Spirit Tracks will get a huge boost from Nintendo’s extensive TV advertising for the game. The firm told MCV this week that it would use a variety of trailers to engage the widest possible audience. “The marketing for Spirit Tracks will focus around TV campaign starting around the launch encapsulating the magic and mystery of The Legend Of Zelda, as well as displaying the rich and varied environments of the title itself,” said product manager Roger Langford.
“We want to ensure that all Legend Of Zelda fans are aware of the title at launch with this heavyweight TV campaign. The TV spots will be supported by online takeovers on all major gaming sites with rich media including a trailer.” The Wii and DS manufacturer has invested heavily in TV advertising this Christmas, and is currently running the most expensive Q4 campaign in the company’s history. Key to this has been the hiring of notable TV presenters Ant and Dec, a deal The Sun reported cost Nintendo around £2 million.
Spirit Tracks is the sequel to 2007 bestseller Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and hits shelves on December 11th. Langford is eager to assure fans of the series that the game will live up to their expectations and deliver a traditional Zelda adventure. “Building on the success of Phantom Hourglass, The Legend Of Zelda: Spirt Tracks sends hero Link on a brand new adventure,” he said. “Travelling by train opens up new options for problem solving.” Nintendo: 01753 483700
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Nordic predicts sell-out for We Sing launch day Demand ramps up for promising Wii karaoke title as Premier PR brought on board by Tim Ingham NORDIC GAMES has unveiled details of its comprehensive marketing activity ahead of the release of We Sing – as it forecasts that the game could sell out on the day of its November 20th release. The game will be promoted in the national press over its
We Sing has already been recieved phenomenally well and we’re working hard to ensure a good flow of stock. Nik Blower, Nordic Games
release weekend and is being backed by a significant trade marketing effort. This includes major online retailer takeovers, direct email campaigns through the largest online retailers, and a significant in-store spend. Additional giveaways and exclusive deals will be implemented in-store and
We Sing is Nordic’s major Q4 release
online throughout the launch period and beyond. Premier PR has been retained to handle all communications for We Sing through launch and beyond, as Nordic Games seeks to establish the game as the defining singing title on Wii.
“From the pre-order and shipping figures to date, We Sing has already been received phenomenally well and we’re working hard with our retail partners to ensure a steady flow of stock to meet with the demand,” said sales and marketing director at Nordic Games Nik Blower.
The ‘Game Shelf Life’ survey also found that the average gamer buys a total of five new games a year – with 12 per cent claiming to buy ten or
MICROSFT: Halo 3: ODST has sold 1.8 million copies worldwide, with 294,000 finding a home in the UK. Japan has only purchased 33,000 copies, while the US has snapped up 1.52 million.
ACTIVISION: The publisher revealed it has made a profit of $15 million in the quarter ending September 30th, a massive improvement over the loss of $108 million reported in the same period last year.
“We have already sold more than many other new releases, and the game is likely to sell out at launch – simply because we have got the format’s best songlist, and we offer the best value for a singing title. For Wii owners, We Sing is the only real choice.
“We are all looking for ways to cut costs at the moment and it appears that we really should be heading for our cupboards to unlock the value we have in
We are all looking for ways to cut costs and it appears that we really should be unlocking the value of unused games. Marc Day, SwapGame
more titles per year – and that more than one third of people (38 per cent) have over £100 of unused games lying around at home.
UBISOFT: The Splinter Cell: Conviction Collector’s Edition that features a digital prequel comic, console decals and a credit card-sized USB stick with extra content.
“We are delighted to have Premier PR on board. Music games are as much a part of the entertainment industry as film, TV and DVDs, so we wanted an agency that had plenty of experience across all those sectors.” Nordic: +34 952 930 927
£1.8 billion second-hand games in UK BRITONS ARE sitting on a £1.8 billion-worth of unused computer games – the equivalent of one game per person in the UK. That’s according to a new national survey, which revealed one in five consumers (22 per cent) have ten or more computer games at home they haven’t played in the last six months – whilst six per cent of people claim to have more than 25 untouched games at home. The poll, conducted by SwapGame.com analysed what 2,000 consumers across the country do with their ‘completed’ computer games.
our unused games,” said Marc Day, founder and CEO of SwapGame – which is now offering its own online trade-in service to gamers.
“If you’re holding out for the latest titles such as Modern Warfare 2 or Assassin’s Creed II, our new trade-in service means the old games you’ve got stored away can now get you significant discounts on new ones, presenting an ideal way to save money on your Christmas shopping.” The survey also discovered that almost two-thirds of consumers still prefer to buy their computer games brand new (63 per cent). Only nine per cent typically get their console games by swapping them with friends. www.swapgame.com
EA: The Collector’s Edition of Mass Effect 2 will feature exclusive in-game armour and weaponry, a bonus DVD with extra content and the first issue of the Mass Effect: Redemption comic. THQ: Sales for the quarter ending September 30th were down by 40 per cent yearon-year, with net sales coming in at $101.3 million. GAME: The retailer has bagged the exclusive rights to a limited edition of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, which includes a special tin and character figurines. It is available to customers who pre-order.
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EEK W E H T F O N IG A P M CA F1 2009 The first of Codemasters’ F1 series hits shelves this week, complete with a tie-in marketing campaign with Nintendo…
RELEASED: NOVEMBER 20 FORMATS: WII, PSP PUBLISHER: CODEMASTERS DEVELOPER: SUMO DIGITAL PRICE: £29.99-£39.99 DISTRIBUTOR: GEM CONTACT: 01279 822800
PRINT/ONLINE Codemasters is targeting specialist Formula One media for its print and online campaign, which the firm feels overlaps well with Wii owners. The company is also working with Nintendo and Sony to position their products through official channels, including the respective websites. TRADE/POS Codemasters’ in-store campaign is a major part of the company’s activities. There will be a huge array of POS made available to retailers including wobblers, banners, posters and cubes. The firm will launch a special bundle for Wii, with
a Wii cradle designed like a F1 steering wheel. The publisher will also be promoting the game through a mixture of online retail and Christmas catalogue inclusions. TELEVISION The vast majority of Codemasters’ campaign is focused on TV advertising. The heavyweight ad push has been produced in partnership with Nintendo
for Codemasters’ biggest ever UK TV campaign for a Wii title. The advertising will run around programming heavily targeting three specific audiences: Fathers and sons, housewives and children, as well as 16 to 34-year-olds. The first TV spots are set to appear from mid-November.
iPod & iPhone accessories
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Rogue Warrior™ ©2009 Bethesda Softworks LLC, a ZeniMax Media company. Distributed under license from Richard Marcinko Inc. Bethesda Softworks, ZeniMax and related logos are registered trademarks or trademarks of ZeniMax Media Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Rogue Warrior is a registered trademark or trademark of Richard Marcinko Inc. “2“, “PS3” and “À” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Windows, the Windows Vista Start button, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies, and ‘Games for Windows’ and the Windows Vista Start button logo are used under license from Microsoft. All Rights Reserved.
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MCV INTERVIEW DAN ROSENSWEIG, CEO, GUITAR HERO
Heroic deeds After expanding into three different brands this year, the Guitar Hero franchise is primed for Christmas 2009 – and will be targeting more audiences and digital sales in 2010. Franchise CEO Dan Rosensweig explains all to Michael French…
GUITAR HERO CEO Dan Rosensweig isn’t actually very good at the game his division of Activision is so famous for. “My fingers can’t keep up with the speed,” he jokes to MCV when talking about the $2bn dollar franchise, admitting he’s more of a fan of DJ Hero – the newer, edgier take on music games that launched two weeks ago to strong reviews and good sales for a highticket £90 game. Which is just as well – the mixing game was designed to widen the Hero franchise further and appeal to those who didn’t like Guitar Hero he tells us. A former Yahoo COO, Rosensweig joined Activision in March this year, stepping in to oversee the franchise as it hit a crucial crossroads – diversifying to reach more consumers.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
This year, with many saying that music game sales were flat, the Guitar Hero series returned to its guitar and rock roots. Meanwhile new family-focused Band Hero will emphasise extra
instruments and with pop music, while UK-made DJ Hero and its turntable controller took on urban music. This three-flavour approach is arguably quite the gamble – in a recession year Activision actually plans to sell more instruments and discs. “It's hard to know with the economy how big the market is for anything – but our objective is that wherever we go we
and a game with a Metacritic of over 85. For value, if a consumer is looking to buy the best games I think we win.” But so far, with GH5 reviewed as the best game in the series yet, a respectable debut for DJ Hero, and now the introduction of Band Hero, it’s an approach that is keeping the series fresh at the very least. “DJ Hero was designed with Europe in mind – those 100 songs have real appeal in Our objective? That Europe. And as I say it is whichever markets we choose real value for money – it to go into in the future, we would cost you more take our unfair share. money to buy all those tracks individually than if Dan Rosensweig, Guitar Hero you bought the game.” want to take our unfair share,” says Band Hero makes the series “more Rosenweig, with all of Activision’s social” than ever before. characteristic sales swagger. “GH5 has So does that mean the Hero franchise proven we can do that – and we feel – which was already very inclusive – the same about the new games.” previously left some consumers behind? But he admits that the recession “It’s not a matter of ‘left out’,” argues creates an immediate pressure on highRosensweig. “But when you pick an ticket items like DJ Hero: “However instrument or a type of music – in our what we are focused on is value for case the guitar and rock music – the money. So for less than £100 DJ Hero demographic is going to be specific. For owners get 93 new mixes, a peripheral, us that was young males. But now with
pop music stars like Taylor Swift and No Doubt and Bon Jovi and Maroon 5 you have more family, sing-along and multiple instrument music. That will just attract more families.” As for DJ Hero, he jokes: “Well that’s just for everyone who wants to funk.” But the pressure to keep a big money business the Hero music franchise rolling must be high. How does a big corporation like Activision appeal to consumers who, in his words, ‘want to funk’ – the ones who are logo conscious, on the cutting edge, and are cynical about uncool brands? Rosensweig doesn’t initially appreciate the suggestion that even the mighty Guitar Hero brand can’t win everyone over. “Do you really think there are people that would be sceptical about Activision? We have Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Guitar Hero – three of the biggest games franchises in the world. I think that tells people a lot about what they can expect,” he scoffs. “But I appreciate the tension in what you are saying – how does any company build a game for an audience on the
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MCV INTERVIEW DAN ROSENSWEIG, CEO, GUITAR HERO BATTLE OF THE BANDS Activision took on one of the biggest bands ever and won when Rock Band’s The Beatles title faced off against Guitar Hero 5 the in September charts. Guitar Hero CEO Dan Rosensweig gives his side of the story… Why do you think Guitar Hero beat The Beatles: Rock Band when released this September? Look, The Beatles are amazing – I am one of the giant fans that went out and bought the expensive mono CD re-releases. But we focused on what consumers wanted with our game, which is music the consumer wants to hear, and value for music. And GH is fun as well to play – Activision understands both music and gaming. New game Band Hero is targeting mass-market consumers by incorporating family favourite pop starlets like Taylor Swift
edge? But the way you do it is to be authentic, to engage that consumer and understand what they care about – and engage the iconic figures of that category. So in Guitar Hero we have Van Halen, Aerosmith and some of the biggest bands in the world. In DJ Hero we have David Guetta associated with us, plus Daft Punk, Eminem and Jay-Z. We stay authentic to the music and the genre. We have formed our own inhouse DJ team and we are experts in music. So you do it by doing it right.” Do you think that The Beatles: Rock Band might have attracted non-gamer players you can now tempt over to Guitar Hero? I don’t even know how to answer that question – because I don’t know who actually bought The Beatles: Rock Band. I just know more people bought Guitar Hero 5. Signing musical talent for exclusives seems to be the key battle between Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Are there any big acts left to get? We’re really excited about Guitar Hero: Van Halen – he is one of the greatest guitarists of of all times and the biggest living American guitar player. It hits the UK in February. So that’s pretty exciting. Is Activision planning any artistspecific releases of its own? The question about whether or not you do single band releases is something we will evaluate. There are of course iconic bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd that I love and would like to work with – but we have a successful formula of variety of value. Our preliminary set list for next year is pretty amazing already.
Where Guitar Hero has been met with some occasional resistance is in the music industry itself. While it makes millions through instrument, disc and digital sales, it has raised some ire. Record label execs have complained that they don’t see enough royalty revenue, while celebrity musicians like No Doubt and Courtnay Love have called in lawyers to check up on how Activision has used artists’ likenesses. Rosensweig shrugs off any question about cynicism from the music industry, though – ultimately, any hold outs there will need to accept that games are an important new revenue stream. “There is no industry I have ever been in where you have been able to satisfy everybody,” he says, “but given the vast amount of people that work happily with us – and the talent pool we have to pick from – I think we’ve done a great job.
“We strive for and have really terrific relationships with artists, their labels and their fans – so there is a real desire to want to work with us. We bring back lapsed fans and introduce new ones; they participate with music in a new way, and it boosts catalogue sales and artist awareness.” On average, he says, a song that featured in Guitar Hero: World Tour increased the catalogue sales of the artists featured in the game by up to 50 per cent. He insists that likewise this has primed an
Retailers like the fact that online connectivity helps consumers enhance the product they buy in shops. Dan Rosensweig, Guitar Hero audience of music fans ready to watch bands new and old when they go on tour. Which is good news for the music industry; live events and tours are now more important revenue streams than ever before. He says: “We’re generating visibility and revenue for these acts.” DOWNLOAD WITH THE KIDS
But as the series heads into 2010, Activision is also preparing the Hero brand for the next challenge – the rise in importance of digital content sales. So far, Guitar Hero’s success has hinged on retail sales for its instrument packs. But now Activision plans to ramp up online connectivity and digital sales as part of the mix keeping the franchise relevant, reveals Rosensweig.
“There’s new hardware, new genres, new regions to launch in – all of it when it is appropriate to do so. Increased connectivity to the internet means more customisation, user recommendation, more download sales – that adds to the experience and keeps it fresh.” Activision knows first-hand how regular DLC and online support can benefit retail and its bottom line. Call of Duty 4 maintained its RRP for two years thanks in part to its online community and regular releases of map packs and DLC. It sounds a lot like Activision is planning a similar strategy for its Hero games – but the firm is also keen to make it clear the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Rosensweig concludes: “We’re working on our 2010 slate now. You will probably see fewer SKUs from us, but the focus on making the best-selling, most fun to play, best-reviewed games will continue. Those are the things that are constant. [There will be] more DJ Hero, and the next iterations of Guitar and Band are on the way. But we will see how the market plays out. What you will see is the games will live longer and be more vibrant through DLC. “We intend and are really happy to be mostly distributed through retail. We love those partnerships. It’s our primary environment. But retailers like the fact that connectivity helps consumers enhance the product they buy in shops. – it isn’t one versus the other.”
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MCV INTERVIEW TIM WOODLEY, HEAD OF GLOBAL BRAND, 505 GAMES
Mama’s boy What would you say has been the secret to Mama’s global success? The appeal of Mama is in its simplicity. The simplicity of the concept, of the gameplay and of the character. The Mama character is universal, is easily identifiable and is a personality which parents find easy to trust. The unique art-style of the character and her world has helped cement the brand recognition in a short space of time. In what ways have you been marketing Mama that’s different to how you would promote a more traditional game? Launching a new IP in the gaming arena is notoriously difficult, but with Mama we have always been hell-bent on talking directly to our target consumer and not being distracted from that mantra. Most activity that we participate in across Europe is never seen by the industry as a whole, unless they happen to have young kids, so determined are we to hit our bull’s-eye target every time. Our approach to marketing Mama is more similar to Hasbro or Mattel than Activision or Ubisoft. You’ve used quotes from Mama herself in press releases, including the response to PETA. Why is that? As we have extended Mama out beyond the game, she has started to develop a personality of her own, and it felt only natural to give her a voice. Even so, this character is only just starting to come alive with the activity we have in place around the Cooking Mama 3 launch this Christmas. Bringing Mama to life has been our marketing mantra in the lead up to this launch. 2010 will see this taken to a whole other level. What did you make of the PETA complaint? It wasn’t really a complaint as far as we’re concerned, more a way of using the recognition of Mama to make a statement. The Mama brand has always been presented as a wholesome, safe environment with no allegiance to any political or sociological agenda which parents can trust, so it didn’t affect us.
The latest in the five million-selling Mama franchise hits store shelves this week. Christopher Dring meets 505 Games’ Tim Woodley to discover what’s next for Mama...
505 Games’ Tim Woodley is hoping to ‘bring Mama to life’ with his Cooking Mama 3 marketing push
During 2010 you can expect to see new developments outside of the gaming segment for the Mama brand. Tim Woodley, 505 Games
What are your ambitions for Mama? Are you looking to create a Mariostyle brand? No, we’re looking to create a Mamastyle brand. We have huge ambitions for her, but we understand that establishing a brand which has longevity and spans the generations – as opposed to being a here-today-gone-tomorrow fad – is a long-game. Our intention is to grow her gradually and purposefully for the longterm benefit of all involved. Would you be interested in bringing Mama to non-Nintendo formats? Cooking Mama Limited is interested in bringing Mama to any format which compliments their ideology of games, which is: ‘finding new ways to play’. They evaluate the creative and the
commercial opportunities, which present themselves on an ongoing basis. You’re releasing Cooking Mama 3 in Q4, are you confident it can thrive in this typically hostile period? Given that this is the first time we’ve launched Mama in the Christmas season and enjoyed a simultaneous launch worldwide, we believe that Cooking Mama 3 will be the biggest selling Mama game yet. Mama has punched above her weight in Europe when you consider that, unlike in the US, every launch we’ve had has fallen outside of the holiday season. We have a great opportunity to surpass anything we have done before, but also to consolidate Mama as a franchise that can stand against other big Christmas releases. Digital downloading is starting to really take off. Can we expect digital Mama games in the future? Mama’s audience is not as susceptible to the digital realm as that of other gaming brands, but we continue to monitor the opportunities presented to us. There’s already been a best-selling iPhone app, which indicates an encouraging brand recognition by tech-savvy parents open to downloading content for their children, something which points to potential in other online portals moving forward. So retail continues to be very important to the Mama series? The support of our retail partners is crucial to the success of Mama, always has been, always will be. Mama has a very symbiotic relationship with her friends at store level. She always delivers for them, and they always deliver for her. Finally, are you looking to licence Mama out into other areas, such as TV, toys or books? 2009 has been the year when Mama stepped out of the kitchen for the first time with Gardening Mama and flexed her muscle against the big guns by stepping into the ring with the Christmas big-hitters for the first time. 2010 will see further developments both within and outside of the gaming segment.
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MCV INTERVIEW MIKE CHANNELL, OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE
The Future’s bright Official Xbox Magazine’s reviews editor Mike Channell took the Rising Star prize at the Games Media Awards last week. Christopher Dring speaks to one of the industry’s most promising upcoming talents…
Were you surprised to pick up the Rising Star GMA Award? Yes – when you're up against guys who are doing a really great job, as all the other nominees are, then you never come into these things thinking you’re going to win. Every one of the other nominees has worked their cherries off during a recession that has seen companies tightening their belts – and every one of them could have justifiably walked away with the award. That said, going into it I did hope I’d done enough sweating, keyboard hammering and trans-Atlantic jet lag suffering to give myself a decent shot. It was definitely a lovely surprise, and I think my lack of a coherent speech after a relatively small amount of beer demonstrates that I wasn’t expecting anything. How did you break into video games journalism? I used to read my dad's copies of ST Format way back when, and I think it was at that point that the structure and style of game reviews, which Future Publishing played a huge part in
defining, became ingrained. As I grew videos – something that up I read a wide range of Future’s mags often sees me sprinting between my and so when I got to university I went desk and the video studio – it’s also for the position of games editor on the allowed us to do some pretty exciting student newspaper. The previous guy stuff. Hopefully I’ve also managed to had worked at GAME and used his write the odd amusing review from time student discount to buy and review to time as well. games, but I couldn’t afford to do that, so I got I’ve really tried to broaden in touch with PRs from OXM’s reach beyond the various companies, and ended up with at least one printed page since I joined new game to review every the magazine a year ago. week. That impressed the Mike Channel, OXM guys at PC Format, who gave me my first job writing about technology and games. What has been the highlight of your early career so far? What do you feel was behind your Well I think picking up the award voted success this year? for by my peers certainly rates pretty I’ve really tried to broaden OXM’s reach highly! Aside from that obvious beyond the printed page since I joined highlight, I think that the sheer breadth the magazine a year ago. We're of this entertainment medium has currently producing videos that appear allowed me to indulge a lot of my on Inside Xbox – the dedicated video interests in the line of duty. Being channel found on the Xbox 360. While invited to the X-Games in LA to it's a lot of effort to juggle my mag interview Ken Block and watch the rally duties and put together interesting racing was brilliant and I’ve recently
undergone the terrifyingly brief transformation into a DJ for a series of videos relating to DJ Hero. Most DJs would sell their granny to warm up for DJ Shadow, and I somehow managed to do it twice in the same week. That was pretty special. Who and what have been the biggest influences so far for you? It’s strange because as I’ve grown up reading Future mags, a lot of the people I enjoyed reading and that influenced me as a writer are people who I guarantee have no qualms about getting embarrassingly drunk with. I don’t want to mention their names because it’ll make them blush – plus I’ll inevitably forget someone and tumble off their Christmas card list. Nowadays, like everyone, I’m impressed by Charlie Brooker’s talents as a writer – and the fact that he’s an ex-games journo is certainly heartening for people who crave some sort of mainstream legitimacy.
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Keeping pirates at bay ELSPA director general Mike Rawlinson discusses tackling counterfeit goods this Q4 – and praises last month’s LGC event...
Rawlinson says that ELSPA will clamp down on the importing of piracy-enabling hardware this Q4
EVERY PERSON working in the UK’s games industry will be able to tell by now that we’re heading into the busiest time of the year. But as the legitimate area of the industry gets busier, so does the pirate business. Our IP crime team is out there – the Intellectual Property Crime Unit (IPCU). Its team of investigators are trawling the streets and internet alike, seeking out illegal activity. That goes as much for the biggest fish as the smaller local criminals. We liked to nip things in the bud as high up the chain as possible for maximum impact. Very high-level sites are cracking the code of new games – and these are being tackled by the IPCU and others here and abroad. It is good to know that in the US they have really begun clamping down on these hackers – and not a moment too soon. On a regional level, ELSPA is pinpointing hackers who operate out of the UK. Our
crime unit is working closer than ever with the UK’s police and Trading Standards to ensure we track them down and throw the book at them. Of course, there are several ways to crack a fraudulent nut. A console has to be modified to play pirate games in the first place, and we’re working
The importing of counterfeit hardware can pose even darker risks to the general public – particularly the mains chargers that can come with them. Trading Standards tested some Nintendo products last year that clearly turned out to be fakes, many of which failed basic electrical safety tests.
Our crime unit is working very closely with the police. When we catch IP criminals, we’ll throw the book at them. Micheal Rawlinson, ELSPA
diligently with HM Customs and Excise on cutting the actual supply of chips and chipping equipment to the UK. Our internet investigators are busy finding out just who is offering this service right now. In short, we track them down, carry out test purchases and move in quickly to seize their stock – helping Trading Standards officers to prosecute.
These could deliver more than disappointment if opened on Christmas Day – they could be lethal. We’ll be keeping an extra close eye on these sorts of things this year; seizing both bulk supplies and individual orders whenever they pose risks to the public or shortchange our members. On a happier note, I’d like to take the opportunity to
celebrate the London Games Conference which was a great success. I think it was the first time we’ve seen what I’d call the whole industry – both old and new players – in one room. The event showed that while old businesses are looking to transform, new businesses are cropping up with interesting propositions. We are entering a period of great opportunity and excitement. ELSPA has a range of remits, and we too are moving with the times. On the subject of digital distribution, we need to make sure that the industry has the necessary data it requires to see where it is going forward. We mustn’t lose sight of our role of promoting the size and scale of the industry – and that includes business generated by new models such as subscription, micro-transactions and free-to-play games. I can assure you that ELSPA will continue to be at the forefront of gathering, displaying and promoting this information.
ELSPA NEWS UK CHART: Another British-made game has topped the GfKChartTrack/ELSPA’s All Formats Top 40, with Sega’s Football Manager 2010 claiming the No.1 spot in its first week on sale. The game held off giant titles such as Nintendo’s Wii Sports Resort and EA’s FIFA 10. ELSPA: The video games body has cemented its Board line-up for the 12 months ahead, with some new faces joining the industry’s most established faces at the recent AGM. Activision’s Andrew Brown, Eidos’ Ian Livingstone, Codemasters’ Jeremy Wigmore and Sega’s Alan Pritchard are all newlyelected to the Board. Andy Payne of Mastertronic is set to serve another year as ELSPA chairman, whilst Nintendo’s UK boss David Yarnton remains vice chairman and Disney’s Matt Carroll as treasurer. GLOBAL SALES: The world’s top three global markets suffered a six per cent year-on-year overall drop in video games software unit sales in the three months to September (Q3). According to data from Top Global Markets – the integrated monthly report from The NPD Group (US), GfK Chart-Track Limited/ELSPA (UK) and Enterbrain, Inc. (Japan) – the UK suffered the biggest decline. Q3 unit sales in the region dropped 19 per cent year-on-year, taking the UK's year-to-date unit sales decline – compared to the combined periods of Q1, Q2 and Q3 last year – to 13 per cent. NINTENDO: ELSPA has welcomed the decision by the Department of Health to endorse Nintendo’s Wii Fit Plus – making the first game to be allowed to use the NHS’s Change4Life logo in future advertising. As first reported by MCV, the Change4Life branding will be used across Nintendo’s promotion. Michael Rawlinson said: “We are thrilled that active video games are being recognised by the Government for contributing to a healthy, balanced lifestyle.”
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Burridge on Board After re-election to the ELSPA Board, 505 Games sales boss Bob Burridge talks exclusively to MCV about the body’s agenda for the next 12 months…
FULL LIST OF MEMBERS 505 Games Activision Blizzard Avanquest Software CD Team
Why did you decide to go for re-election to the ELSPA board? What benefits does it bring 505 Games? Having been on the board for the past two years, I have seen first-hand the great work that ELSPA has been doing. The PEGI campaign was ELSPA at its best and it was an incredible time to serve on the Board. The next two years are going to be equally critical for our industry. It is essential that the right political and business framework is in place to allow future growth of the industry trade association in light of changing legal structures and evolving technical developments headed our way. I wanted to serve another term as I want the opportunity to assist in guiding the necessary strategy and priorities of ELSPA going forward. Would you recommend representatives of more publishers to put themselves forward at the next election? It is a great experience. There are many different facets to the work of ELSPA, many of which most people are simply unaware of in your daily working agenda. It is also an opportunity to work with some incredibly talented people from our industry. When a group of companies and individuals of such calibre get together a great deal can be achieved for the good of the industry in the UK. Is your voice heard by the Board – despite you not being from a giant like Activision or Microsoft? Every Board meeting is assured of some very healthy
debate and I think it is important for everyone to know that every member’s voice is heard, not just those of the Board members.
CDV Software Capcom CentreSoft Codemasters D3Publisher of Europe Disney Interactive Studios Eidos Electronic Arts
What, specifically, does a smaller publisher get from being part of ELSPA’s Board? Many of ELSPA’s current agenda items are Government-body related. Our industry has become an immense source of revenue generation for the country as a whole. There is clearly a much greater desire for Government to interface with an association that includes huge organisations such as Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, Activision, etc. A small publisher like 505 Games benefits from being part of a bigger movement. It gives us the ability to punch above our weight, if you like.
Fidelity Investment Services Focus Multimedia Fox Point Capital Management Frontier Future Publishing GAME Group Gamebridge Hasbro Intent Media Intuit Kingdon Capital Management Koch Media Koei Konami Lago SRL Lovells LucasArts Majesco Europe Manches Mastertronic Microsoft Midas Interactive Namco Bandai Games Europe
Burridge believes ELSPA shoud shout more about its achievements
major party political conferences last month?
It’s essential that we put the right political and business framework in place for future industry growth. Bob Burridge, 505 Games
Is there anything you’d like to see introduced to ELSPA’s agenda? One of the areas where I would like to see increased focus is events and festivals. This is an amazing industry and we need to educate, show and engage with the public, policy makers, other industries and internationally. I’d also like to see ELSPA shouting louder about its achievements. Who knew, for example, that ELSPA were one of the few industry bodies that were present at all of the
the table. If there is one area that it could improve, it would be in its own PR – and being less modest over its own achievements.
Nordic Games Publishing Oxygen Interactive PlayV Rising Star Games Roxio Sega Europe SCEE Sony DADC
What do you think are ELSPA’s defining qualities – and in which areas could it improve? ELSPA provides a commoncause entity where mutual issues can be discussed, debated and resolved. Big or small, ELSPA is impartial and provides representation of the whole industry to the outside world. Most of the work which ELSPA does goes largely unnoticed to nonmembers, leaving most industry personnel unsure of the value that they bring to
How can ELSPA help companies understand digital distribution? It’s reassuring to have a robust industry body binding us which can provide a support network where these challenges can be met collectively.
Square Enix Symantec (UK) THQ International Take Two The Game Factory The Stationery Office Twentieth Century Fox Ubisoft Warner Bros Zenimax Europe /Bethesda Zushi Games
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DISTRIBUTION SPECIAL: OVERVIEW
The distribution sector continues to adapt to developments in the games industry, but what does the future hold? James Batchelor speaks to the major players in the market…
THE FACE OF distribution is changing. Michael Breeze, Interactive Ideas’ then it has to be a good thing. But they As the industry finds itself transforming marketing director. should always be entered into in order to cope with the rise of digital “The current economic climate is after due diligence and not just as a downloads and the altering demands of forcing companies to really focus on short term survival model. Disaster can consumers, companies in the sector what they are good at and partner with follow rapidly.” must adapt their own approaches to other companies to bring in additional Antigrav sales director Robert business if they are to survive. skills and look for new revenue.” Orchard adds: “If ventures like these None serve as a better example of this Meroncourt’s sales director Steve prove to be successful and the benefits than The Producers and Trilogy, which Walsh agrees that the recession has are visible, then we may see a number announced their new of similar ventures in the strategic partnership two future and diversification “Joint ventures will help distributors weeks ago. Under this from the traditional business survive. But companies shouldn’t see agreement, the two firms models that we have today. them as a short-term solution.” are equipped to offer a “Once digital downloading Steve Walsh, comprehensive end-toof games becomes as easy for Merencourt end service covering both the end users as downloading traditional boxed music, we think there will be products and digital distribution. played a major role in the industry’s a huge increase in content available and It’s a move that is on everyone’s lips, evolution, but dismisses the notion that subsequently incremental revenue for but does such an alliance represent the consolidation is a perfect solution. the industry.” future of the sector? “The economic turmoil is making GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS PAST “There will always be consolidation everyone look at cost savings and how With so many victims claimed by the as the market matures, and this deal is a to generate additional income,” he says. economic collapse in Q4 – most notably sign of the increasing number of “If consolidation, partnerships and joint Pinnacle and EUK, which both fell last partnerships within the industry,” says ventures help businesses to survive,
Christmas – distributors are working hard to ensure they avoid the same fate this year. The market may have a promising line-up of lucrative titles this quarter, but Trilogy managing director Matthew Allen says his company is strengthening its relationships with customers in order to cope with the busiest trading season of the year. “We work very closely with our partners so we have a good understanding of day one shipments and replenishment orders over this period,” he comments. “Communication and partnership is key in this period, so we have to be ready for anything.” Interestingly, there are some that feel the strength of the industry’s Christmas line-up actually presents even more challenges – but firms are determined to meet these and deliver some of the most highly-anticipated games of recent memory.
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DISTRIBUTION SPECIAL: OVERVIEW
“Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will present us all with many challenges,” says Keyne Distributon managing director Phil Jones. “For retail, the key problem will be cash flow, which will have a knock on effect towards wholesale companies. “Many end users will buy the game, but many will also be trading it in, making cash flow harder for retail. For distributors, after MW2 comes out, there will be few restocks needed on other titles released prior to it, so we need to find the best deals out there. “The fact there are very few big games coming after Modern Warfare is released is a challenge for a company like us, who specialise in new games.” Another current issue that is affecting distributors – not to mention the entire retail model – is the ever-notorious presence of price cuts. Ideal Software owner Paul Williams explains that this is particularly harmful to his customers, as Ideal specialises in supplying independents. As Indies take matters into their own hands, he says, it is publishers who may suffer – and distributors are caught in the middle.
says. “Of course, boxed product has a few more years yet. “Digital distribution is still in its “High Street price-cutting has eroded infancy as a mass-market medium, so the faith customers have when they are it’s difficult to gauge what direction it told that they are getting the best price will take in the near future. However, available,” he adds. we do expect it to complement the “It’s such a false economy, as indies retail model.” take advantage and buy from the Companies believe that an even more national chains, which then gives them drastic change is on the horizon, a false sales result. though: the shock introduction of an “Any publisher who sits back and says open distribution model. ‘that was a success’ needs to Creative Distribution look again, because all those “Digital distribution is still in its infancy. managing director Gareth units didn’t go to the end Dain believes However, we expect it to complement users. This doesn’t necessarily “encouraging open the traditional retail model.” harm the industry – it just distribution within the knocks the people’s will and UK and perhaps across Neil Handa, their enthusiasm disappears. Europe would represent a Gem “It creates a completely true reflection of how proved, catering for downloadable titles unstable marketplace where people distribution is today”. will also form an important part of that are too sceptical to make decisions in Gary Palmer, GLS Games’ director, decade. However, not all distributors are agrees: “Publishers need to make the advance. The only people who convinced that the medium has will lose out are the publishers – video games market more competitive developed enough to pose too great a but in desperate times people take by offering open distribution rather threat to their business and the desperate actions.” than letting it be dominated by the cherished boxed product. big three. OUT IN THE OPEN “There won’t necessarily be more “I think they are too worried about Going forward, distributors are beginning joint ventures between retail and digital their product being devalued. I to realise that the market has changed. distribution,” says Discstribution sales genuinely believe that a more open Factors that were once important enough executive Richard Oakely. market will increase the sales of to make them stand out from their Head of marketing at Essex-based their products, as pricing for a few competitors are no longer as significant as Gem Neil Handa agrees. publishers at the moment is they once were – and the need to focus “Eventually, publishers will just go unreasonable and will in time kill off a on service has increased. direct to consumer with downloads,” he lot of small independents.” “Distributors need to be progressive in their thinking,” says Koch’s UK managing director Craig McNicol. “We have long abandoned any mention of ‘how big is my warehouse’ because it is simply not relevant in the long term. Marketing, IP ownership and community management are the language of the next decade.” Of course, as the partnership between Trilogy and The Producers has
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DISCSTRIBUTION (0845 430 8735)
GEM (01279 822 800) GLS GAMES (01708 725 742) IDEAL SOFTWARE (01767 689 720) INTERACTIVE IDEAS (020 8805 1000)
KEYNE DISTRIBUTION (01908 821046) KOCH (0870 027 0985) MERONCOURT (01462 680 060) TRILOGY (0845 362 7769)
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TPL Trilogy_Tube map_MCV_Ad_HR.pdf
Excellent service running on all lines The Producers and Trilogy have joined forces to offer a full supply chain management service covering manufacturing, warehousing, fulfilment and distribution Stock control
Confidence Transport Warehousing Dates
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Targets Flexibility Accuracy
Key to lines
Time Line Price Line Nintendo Manufacturing Line Primary Distribution Line
Bill of materials JIT
Secondary Distribution Line Margins
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Contact Rob Gross on +44 (0)845 456 6400 â€“ firstname.lastname@example.org
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DISTRIBUTION SPECIAL: KOCH
Koch Media’s Craig McNicol says the firm has established new IP this year – part of its “transition from distributor to property owner”
Publishing and distributing house Koch Media continues to strengthen its presence in the industry. James Batchelor speaks to UK managing director Craig McNicol…
What have been your biggest accomplishments in 2009? We have experienced exceptional growth – more than 40 per cent to be precise. This comes from our expansion into Sweden and The Netherlands, where we established branch offices, and, of course, our continuing strong alliance to first party Nintendo distribution with our awardwinning Nindie.com.
has now sold through over 500,000 units to date in UK retail. Additionally, I would point to our establishment of our new console RPG IPs Sacred and Risen. We own both properties and thus, in the increasing drive towards digital delivery, we begin the transition from distributor to property owner.
the line-up, either through co-publishing or distribution signings. In terms of Nintendo distribution, I would like to keep supporting the trade with service and initiatives that keep us apart from less-focused competition. What are the toughest obstacles this Christmas presents? As always, competing for shelf space is a big challenge at this time of year. The need for selecting your product objectively is becoming ever more apparent. I cannot complain if retail will not support a title that I ultimately recognise as a ‘me too’ or ‘niche’ offering. We therefore focus all our efforts on delivering the potential of first party Nintendo products and the gifting opportunity given to us by our As Seen On TV range. We expect good things from these titles thanks to their recognisable brands such as Countdown, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, Family Fortunes and Deal or No Deal.
“The need for selecting product objectively at this time of year is more apparent than ever.”
What is the most important lesson you have learned over the last 12 months? We’ve learned that casual games do not have to be invested in as they were last Christmas. [Our] over-investment [in this] – and then rectifying those mistakes – caused some denting on profits this year. I do not believe we are alone in this area but we’re certainly heading into this Christmas with some strongly branded, well-positioned titles in this area that will stand the scrutiny of consumers. Of the myriad of titles you both publish and distribute, which have been as your biggest successes? The As Seen On TV range that we began in 2006 with Deal or No Deal
Craig McNicol, Koch
How do you feel about Trilogy and The Producers’ partnership? Do you believe we’ll see more consolidation in the future? It’s a nice idea. I have long respected Rob Gross, but let’s wait and see how well it works. Consolidation where there is financial weakness is inevitable. What does 2010 hold for Koch? Do you have any particular plans? I would like to grow our branch offices in Sweden and The Netherlands. We began with own published products and I would like to add better quality to
How would you improve the UK’s distribution sector? Nothing – it’s fluid and competitive.
Gem Providing our partners with end to end integrated supply chain solutions and added value distribution to the retail channel.
One integrated solution
Gem Distribution St George House Parkway Harlow Business Park Harlow Essex CM19 5QF 01279 822822 www.gem.co.uk
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DISTRIBUTION SPECIAL: ANTIGRAV
Peripherals specialist Antigrav Media has flourished thorughout 2009, thanks largely to a range of lucrative licensing deals. Sales director Robert Orchard answers James Batchelor’s questions… How has 2009 been for you? What lessons have you learned? In many ways, 2009 has been a transitional year for Antigrav, but we are finishing the year on a high by adding a number of new customers and suppliers. We are now in the position of offering our customers an extensive range of accessories from over 20 different suppliers. We have learnt that most retailers value the idea of a one-stop shop offering a variety of products that they can then tailor into their own specific requirements. As such, our stock ranges from entry level items through to licensed and high-end products.
Other notable successes have been with our more innovative products, such as our third party Wii Remotes. We are also about to launch our own take on the Wii Balance Board in three different colours for which we have very high expectations.
With a combination of our in-house stock and forecasting systems, we believe we can draw on our past experience and rise to the challenge. What would you change to improve distribution in general? There will always be successes and failures in every sector, but in general we have a good balance between specialists like ourselves and more general distributors in the UK. As we move towards digital distribution, this will impact on us all but we will see lots of incremental business being generated. Traditional distribution will change, but in many ways it will be enhanced because of the increase in content.
“Traditional distribution will change but it will be enhanced by an increase in content.”
What successes have you seen this year? Which products performed particularly well for you? We have had a lot of success with our licensed product ranges, particularly with the Ben 10: Alien Force and Disney-licensed accessories.
Robert Orchard, Antigrav What major challenges do you face this Christmas? The key to approaching the festive season for us has been identifying what the market wants and filling in the gaps where we see opportunities. It’s about managing the business sensibly, without taking on high risk but still trying to fulfil our customers’ requirements for products.
What are your hopes for 2010? We plan to capitalise on the growth we have seen in 2009 by adding more innovative products to our established product portfolio.
GET INTO THE GAME nteractive Ideas offers a range of top-quality peripherals to help gamers keep one step ahead of the opposition and enhance their enjoyment. For PC gamers, we have stylish customised keysets for topselling PC games like AION. For Wii gamers we offer the very best in sports, balance board and gun controllers. We also offer official controllers and accessories for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the forthcoming Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. For all gamers, the best ideas are interactive.
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Tel: 0208 805 1000 email: email@example.com web: www.interactiveideas.com For a full list of publishers and manufacturers that Interactive Ideas represent, visit www.interactiveideas.com
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DISTRIBUTION SPECIAL: TRILOGY
Fresh from its new deal with The Producers, Trilogy is keen to prove there is more to follow. James Batchelor discovers what else the distributor has been working on…
Matthew Allen tells us about Trilogy’s other successes over the course of 2009
AS ONE OF the leading distributors in the UK, Trilogy has worked hard - not to mention cleverly - to keep up with giants Centresoft, Advantage and Gem. Over the past 12 months, the company has signed several new contracts with small but up-and-coming companies, such as City Interactive. It has also continued to maintain the strong relationships formed with established clients, from fledgling publisher Nordcurrent to European powerhouse Ubisoft. In fact, the former provided an unexpected success story for the distributor. Managing director Matthew Allen explains: “One of the surprises of the year is how successful 101-in-1 Megamix has been – it’s a great product from Nordcurrent that has been welcomed into the market.” Crucially, Trilogy has sought to expand beyond to the games industry. This year it sowed the first seeds necessary to accomplish this, as it secured contracts with Simply Home Entertainment back in April and Fastforward Music in February. “As well as continuing to partner with new and exciting video games publishers, 2009 has seen us moving into two new business channels: Home fulfilment and music market,” says Allen. “We have been very successful at signing new publishers across all the channels. “Along the way, we have learned that nothing is ever as easy as it seems, but with a good team and dedication you will get where you want to be – eventually.” IT TAKES TWO Perhaps the most significant deal Trilogy has made in 2009 is its new partnership with The Producers – hiring games industry veteran Rob Gross as part of the new venture. Naturally, the firm is proud of this arrangement and sees it as an important step in the overall development of Trilogy and its services. “As two independent companies working together, we can offer a much wider portfolio of services to the market,” Allen explains.
“As many businesses have already consolidated or are looking to consolidate, working together is the logical strategy for both The Producers and Trilogy. “We are looking at offering a complete turnkey solution, whether this is digital distribution, assembly, home fulfilment, telesales or something more. For both parties, being able to utilise each other’s key strengths and combine these to form one solution is a compelling alternative.” While this move should establish the company in the realms of both traditional
“We are looking at offering a complete turnkey solution. Both parties can now utilise each other’s strengths and combine them to form one solution.” Matthew Allen, Trilogy
boxed product and digital downloads, Allen is eager to point out that Trilogy has other developments in the works. “We are looking at adding more value to our partners as we work with them in the supply chain,” he says. “We are also looking at expanding TRILOGYi and we’ve started to crossfertilize the other commodities that we have under our roof into the independent retail market.” The company’s experience and strong new partnerships are certain to spell success for Trilogy in 2010, which is now well positioned to cope with any major changes in video games. Looking beyond the firm’s own affairs, what would Allen like to see in the domestic market that would improve distribution in the UK? “Longer lead times would be ideal,” he jokes, “but we don’t live in an ideal world, do we?”
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DISTRIBUTION SPECIAL: GEM
Gem’s marketing boss Neil Handa has big plans for Gem and Exspect in 2010
Now approaching its 26th year of business, Gem continues to perform strongly. James Batchelor looks back on the firm’s biggest achievements in 2009…
WHILE MANY distributors suffered a gloomy Christmas and New Year period, Gem began 2009 with a celebration – and the good news hasn’t stopped there. The distributor marked its 25th anniversary with a series of business developments that benefitted both the company and its customers. These included the formation of Gem Logistics and Gem Creative, and the acquisition of French distributor Banque Magnetique. However, the company is not resting on its laurels by any means, and recognises the troubles the industry has been subjected to. That said, Gem remains confident that it made the most of this year. “There is no doubt that 2009 has been a very tough year for all businesses,” says head of marketing Neil Handa. “However, we are very happy with our performance throughout this period. Consumers are still investing in home entertainment and there has been a vast range of excellent new products released which have boosted the market significantly.” Gem, of course, are the proud holders of the lucrative Microsoft contract, as well as handling titles from 2K Games, Rockstar and Codemasters.
Handa emphasises that the company has been pushing more than Xbox products into the High Street. “Of course, Xbox 360 continues to perform extremely well with titles such as Halo 3: ODST, Forza Motorsport 3 and Fable II,” he says. “But additionally, Wii Sports Resort, Wii Fit Plus, Ashes 2009, GTA: Chinatown Wars and Dirt 2 have all been big sellers for us across the major formats.”
“Our Exspect brand continues to grow its presence into Europe and beyond, and we are looking forward to developing our primary and creative services to further support our customers’ requirements.” PLAYSTATION POWER The Exspect label gained a significant boost back in August when the accessories firm secured an official licensing deal with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. This not only granted the company the rights to release a vast range of PlayStationendorsed cases, screen protectors and other add-ons, it also made the Exspect brand a key part of Sony’s Christmas push for the PlayStation brand. As for its own Christmas efforts, Gem is pulling out all the stops to ensure it can cope with demand in the upcoming trading season, especially with heavy hitters such as Halo 3: ODST, Wii Fit Plus and Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City within its remit. “Our strong logistics infrastructure and close relationships with supply and retail partners should ensure we have the right stock management to service our customers during the very busy Christmas period,” concludes Handa.
“2009 has been a very tough year for all. However, we are very happy with our performance.” Neil Handa, Gem With a strong performance in 2009 laying a firm foundation, Gem has already set its sights on the next big developments it can make in 2010. “Obviously I can’t give too much away but we will continue to build on our competitive advantage and add value to the retail and e-tail channel,” he says. In addition, the firm’s Exspect peripherals brand has been performing strongly, with a host of new products hitting shelves. And the company feels the quality of its line-up has strengthened Exspect’s position in the sector.
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DISTRIBUTION SPECIAL: IDEAL/GLS GAMES
As a specialist supplying the UK’s independents, Ideal Software may have a different customer base to those of its fellow distributors, but owner Paul Williams tells James Batchelor it still faces the same challenges… How well has Ideal fared in 2009? Surprisingly, business is up in year-onyear sales, which we never expected would be the case when evaluating the outlook last December. We have learned to never neglect the roots of your business and everything that has enabled you to be where you are today. 2009 was a back-to-basics year for us where we looked to offer our large customer base high levels of support wherever their businesses needed it. Aggressive pricing mixed with exceptional high levels of service and a complete 100 per cent honesty policy with our customers still puts us firmly in the position of Indies’ favourite. We have also started to avoid weaker releases that do not compete with stronger IPs. The message from customers was that these titles
were just not selling, especially on the Wii and DS formats, which have taken a nosedive on third party release sales. Any particular success stories that you’d care to share? For ourselves, success comes from seeing our customers still in business.
“We need to return to the old days where cash and good business skills were king.” Paul Williams, Ideal Software When big name High Street retailers fall in an area surrounding independents, this can only benefit our customers in the end. As indies can hang on in there, we try to offer the best support we can and we think we’re successful with this. Do you believe distributors of retail products and digital downloads will start working more closely together in the near future? Probably, but I cannot see where a traditional boxed product distributor
will be able to succeed in a downloadable market. Next year, publishers will look for more digital titles, rather than releasing full retail products, as it will be a cheaper source of revenue for them and therefore reduce costs. I think there will be a dramatic upsurge that will make a lot of traditional distributors sit up and take notice of the downloadable side of the industry. How can distribution be improved in general? Bring in open distribution. We need to return to the old days where cash was king, and good business skills and communication rewarded you with the best price. The distributor with the best service would win, instead of the one hiding behind an exclusive where the customer has to smile through gritted teeth when ordering product. The exclusive model does not favour the independent customer any more – it is of no advantage for them and it offers no level of protection. What’s more, it puts them off products rather than encouraging them to support them.
Fledgling distributor GLS Games continues to expand its business, rapidly becoming a key distributor in the UK. James Batchelor looks at how well the fast-growing firm is doing… GLS GAMES is one of the youngest distributors to be found in these pages, having only begun operating in January 2008, but that’s not to say it’s any less efficient. The firm has gained valuable experience in its first two years, strategically expanding in order to challenge larger rivals. In particular, 2009 proved to be a very strong year for GLS. “Our company has grown rapidly over the last year,” says director Gary Palmer. “Turnover month-on-month is increasing by 20 to 30 per cent. This will obviously slow down but we are moving in the right direction.” Palmer adds that the key to this success has been GLS’ ability to deal with people as professionally as it has with its assets. He also recognises that distributors need to be realistic with the titles they handle. “For me, business is about building relationships and developing trust,” he says. “There is no point closing the door in people’s faces if it does not
warrant it. You have to move forward and be positive when faced with difficult situations. You cannot win on every product – sometimes you have to take a loss. “We have grown our client base through hard work. As a result, we
little bit of the unknown because last year we were focusing more on retail. The business model has changed a lot over the last 12 months. We’re still hoping to launch a retail website in the near future and move away from third party selling.” When it comes to the rise of digital downloads, Palmer does not think it has yet to pose a significant threat to the traditional distribution model. He also remains unconvinced the market for downloadable games warrants such deals as Trilogy’s newly-announced partnership with The Producers. “I am not so sure about it to be honest,” he explains. “I cannot see the attraction myself, as I have always been one of those people that like to have a hard product in my possession. “It all comes down to the viability and profit at the end of the day. If companies can cut production costs and make more money, then I think it will become commonplace – but not for quite a while.”
“2010 is a little bit of the unknown because last year we were focusing more on retail.” Gary Palmer, GLS Games have been able to distribute a wider range of products.” All this puts GLS Games in a strong position to cope with the busy Christmas season that approaches, but the company is already looking beyond that. As it prepares for a third year of business, the firm has already identified the key areas it needs to improve upon in order to provide the best service to its clients. “Being able to cope with the workload is a big issue,” Palmer says. “2010 is a
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DISTRIBUTION SPECIAL: INTERACTIVE IDEAS
Interactive Ideas marketing boss Micheal Breeze says the firm is gunning for a third successive year of record turnover
Celebrating a recordbreaking year, Interactive Ideas is at the top of its game. James Batchelor discovers all about the distributor’s triumph…
THE LAST 12 months have proven to be “We have seen strong sales this year more than satisfactory for Interactive on Avanquest’s DS titles – particularly Junior Brain Trainer,” he says. “We’ve Ideas. Not only has it identified some also seen good performances from highly sought-after products and a whole host of Wii accessories, maintained a steady supply of them for many of which have some unique retail – but it has also celebrated bestfeatures that makes them stand out ever fiscal results. from their competitors.” “Our last financial year finished at the end of the April and we achieved IDEAS MAN record company revenues for the As a result, Breeze says that Interactive second year in a row,” says marketing Ideas has several best-selling products director Michael Breeze. on its hands, especially the evergreen The company has doubled in size accessory ranges that serve as good over the past two years. “The start of this financial year has continued in the same direction achieving sales above the targets we have for the year,” he adds. “In the coming months we Michael Breeze, Interactive Ideas are about to move into a new office giving us room to double impulse buys and stocking fillers. The the number of employees and triple the company is therefore doing everything warehouse space.” it can to make sure it copes with In addition to games, Interactive demand and any unpredictable Ideas is well known as a distributor of developments this Christmas. peripherals, including official Rock Band accessories, Turtle Beach “We’re ensuring there is a constant headsets, official Street Fighter arcade supply of stock, coping with any last sticks and joypads and more. minute top-sellers that hadn’t been Breeze attributes the company’s anticipated and putting promotional financial success to this thriving plans in place for 2010,” says Breeze. business, as well as a few key products In the wake of the partnership that have either met or exceeded between Trilogy and The Producers, expectations over the course of the year. Breeze observes that the market is
changing and distributors must change in order to keep up with it. “Ultimately it is about giving the end customer what they want,” he explains. “If the percentage of consumers who want to buy software digitally keeps increasing, it will only lead to more companies to start embracing and providing a download service. “Change creates opportunity and I’m sure some new players will emerge with a good quality offering, but many existing companies will simply adapt to providing a download service and using their expertise in a digital environment.” Such scenarios are something many distributors will be presented with over the next decade or so, and Interactive Ideas is well positioned to cope with this. When asked what his hopes are for the near future, Breeze’s thoughts return to the firm’s latest financial success. “We’d like to see record revenue for Interactive Ideas for the third year in a row, which would contribute to the continued success of our customers and suppliers – and for England to win the World Cup,” Breeze says. “If I have to pick one them, though I’m going for our revenue – Gerrard will still have had a pretty good life without a World Cup medal.”
“Change creates opportunity and I’m sure some new players will emerge in the sector.”
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DISTRIBUTION SPECIAL: CREATIVE/MERONCOURT
While others are simply surviving in the current economic climate, Creative Distribution is celebrating record turnovers. James Batchelor speaks to managing director Gareth Dain about the secrets of success… How good has business been for Creative Distribution in 2009? This has been by far the most successful year in the history of Creative. We have seen our turnover more than double to £38 million in our last fiscal year. We have turned the rather unsettling economic climate into a positive and learned that if you push yourselves during difficult times you can really prosper.
How do you plan to continue this growth next year? How high are your sights set? We aim to capture contracts with some big brand non-traditional companies here and abroad to supply video games.
Are there any particular factors that have led to this success? With the help of the popular ex-EUK executive Kevin Young, we have signed a number of preliminary agreements to supply budget product into some nontraditional outlets within the UK and Europe. In terms of hot sellers, Wii and PS3 continue to be the stand out formats for us.
We also aim to surpass a turnover of £50 million and have plans to launch departments wholesaling within entirely different industries.
What do you think about the new deal between Trilogy and The Producers? I think this is a great idea and I welcome it. This industry, more so than others, doesn’t always like to see others doing well, but I wish Matthew and his team all the best.
What have you learned from this turnaround? The biggest lesson we have learned is to believe more in our decisions and what we have to offer.
Is such a partnership an indication of which direction the distribution sector is heading in? I am certain of it. Deals like this make commercial sense for the industry.
“2009 has been by far the most successful year in the history of Creative Distribution.” Gareth Dain, Creative
We have become more confident as a company, and so others are more confident in us. What attitude have you adopted to tackling the busy Christmas period? To make the right purchases and sales decisions between now and the end of the year.
The veteran distributor goes from strength to strength with the range of peripherals vendors it handles. James Batchelor grills sales director Steve Walsh about the company’s next step… How has the last 12 months been for you? What have you learned in 2009? The year has been pretty much as we expected really. Trading has been up on last year so we are grateful for that. The lesson learned is to never rely on anything. You can’t sit back expecting things to happen - you have to get out there and make them happen.
What are your objectives for 2010? We would hope to see our growth get back to the levels of previous years. If it isn’t and we end up with a repeat of 2009, then at least we will be here next Christmas, which sadly I suspect will not be the case for many others.
ability to pay for increased stock. We would like higher credit insurance, but at the moment we are only able to get 50 per cent of the amount we had this time last year. Obviously, the agreement between Trilogy and The Producers is pretty big news for the sector. Do you think more companies will start buddying up in the near future? I’m sure they will. It’s an everevolving business – that’s why it such an interesting area to work in. I say good luck to anyone who has the balls – and spare cash – to try something new.
“This is an ever-evolving business. I say good luck to anyone trying something new.”
Which of your products has particularly impressed you with its performance? We have seen our greatest success this year on rapid expansion of our Speedlink console accessory range and the arrival of the long-awaited line-up from Roccat for serious gamers.
Steve Walsh, Meroncourt What are the biggest challenges your company faces this holiday? The same ones we have faced all year: making sure our customers have the
Is there anything you would change about distribution in general? I’m happy with how we are currently dealing in the market and think we do a great job for our partners and customers. What everyone else does is interesting but I don’t let myself get diverted too far away from Meroncourt’s planning – it’s where we have to focus.
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DISTRIBUTION SPECIAL: KEYNE DISTRIBUTION
Catering for local clients is crucial – but Keyne Distribution also maintains vital relationships with overseas markets. James Batchelor reports... AS THE barriers between international markets continue to break down or blur, local distributors are looking beyond their home market for additional revenue and clients. Keyne Distribution has had some level of success in this area, but it reports that the recession has not made such trading an easy task. As our own currency weakens, the balance shifts – and the company has had to adapt in order to maintain its business. “2009 has been a tough year for third party distribution,” says managing director Phil Jones. “The biggest problem we have faced, and have done since August last year, is the strength of the pound. We have seen an increase in exports to many countries in the EU, Australia, South Africa and the Far East. “This has had a knock-on effect with the UK, resulting in a decline in
business due to the pricing we have been able to offer. But we believe we have managed to strengthen in the UK by sourcing better prices and deals with other British companies and suppliers from overseas on new releases.”
“Previously, we would see a ratio of about 30 per cent sales when compared to the Xbox 360 in the UK, but now we are seeing 70 per cent, depending on the genre or the title itself. Overseas, the PS3 is still the stronger format in sales.” As this turbulent year comes to an end, Jones teases that Keyne has been busy identifying new areas that will help boost its business in these troubled recessionary times. With a new source of revenue already targeted, it’s a matter of time before the company embarks on its newest venture. “For 2010, we are looking at taking the business down another avenue of business to help strengthen Keyne Distribution in the games industry, helping us with the market in the UK and overseas,” he says. “It’s early days at the moment, but this progression will take us in to another industry, which works very well with the games side of things. Watch this space.”
“We’re looking at expanding into another industry to complement our work in games.” Phil Jones, Keyne Distribution Fortunately, the firm has been able to draw on its past experiences and ride out the economic troubles. As a result, it has improved the performance of key product lines, both at home and abroad – with Sony’s nextgen console showing significant improvement in particular. A KEYNE INTEREST “For Keyne Distribution, we have seen an increase in PS3 sales,” Jones says. “Not only in overseas sales in the EU, but even the UK has seen a noticeable increase.
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52 MCV 13/11/09
DISTRIBUTION SPECIAL: DISCSTRIBUTION
Discstribution’s Richard Oakley (pictured below) says the firm will look to expand once the economy settles down
Online development and investment has paid off at Discstribution, which claims that it will offer unrivalled service for the Christmas holidays. James Batchelor finds out more…
WHILE MANY distributors concentrate with Discstribution’s current on their storage facility and portfolio of clients. maintaining a steady flow of product, Discstribution has proven that a good DISC-Y BUSINESS online service can be just as vital. “Numerous suppliers have Although the company has spent been plenty of time and resources expanding very committal to our website its own warehouse capacity, refining platform,” says Oakely. “Next its website has been just as high a year, we will achieve even priority for Discstribution over the past more with the current ones, 12 months. and hopefully attract the “2009 has been an interesting year,” attention of many more.” says sales executive Richard Oakely In addition to its website, (pictured, right). “We have built an Discstribution is looking to grow its experienced team to manage specific business by improving its presence in products genres and formats. Our other sectors of the games industry. website content has been constantly Oakely expresses the company’s updated and we are confident that it is one of the best sources of information for the video game industry. “You can also buy from it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Richard Oakley, Discstribution 365 days a year. Our systems are some of the best in the industry. We are focused and organised commitment to this ambition – whether on delivering product at the best prices it’s adopting new product lines or to our wide range of customers.” nursing partnerships with the medium’s Oakley emphasises that these key players. opening times include the Christmas “Video game accessories are a Holidays, meaning retailers can place product area that we have orders at any time – even on Christmas concentrated on and are keen to Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. develop even further, as well as direct It’s a service some distributors are relationships with more video game unable to provide – and one that publishers,” he says. Discstribution is exceptionally proud of. Naturally, Discstribution has kept a The firm is actually looking to its close eye on the competition and, like online system to entice new customers, many, has been intrigued by the new tempting them with the same service strategic alliance signed between that has evidently proven to be popular Trilogy and The Producers. The
company recognises that further joint ventures may be announced in the future, but Oakely observes that potential partnerships are limited given the number of distributors that remain in the UK. “There are not many more to be consolidated,” he explains, revealing that Discstribution itself was once targeted: “We have had enquiries and an offer to purchase our business by a very large entertainment wholesaler. Unfortunately it was far too low a value, and was rejected. Saying that, we would welcome and consider offers from investors or partners.” Discstribution is optimistic about global economics improving – and confident that as the world begins to recover, the company can expand its presence further. Oakely conlcudes: “We believe the economy is slowly getting better and we are very confident that we can build on our expertise, and grow our supplier and customer base.”
”Numerous suppliers have been very committal to Discstribution’s website platform.”
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Sponsored by 54 MCV 13/11/09
Silver joins Namco Bandai Partners National accounts manager joins publisher Ogden leaves Future UK Johns becomes Sega’s head of UK sales
NAMCO BANDAI PARTNERS PETER SILVER has joined the distribution giant as national accounts manager. Silver joins the firm following two-and-a-half years at sister company D3 Publisher, where he held a similar role. He will be responsible for a number of Namco Bandai’s key UK accounts.
FUTURE GAVIN OGDEN has left his longheld position as editor of ComputerAndVideoGames.com at the publisher’s London office to relocate abroad. However, Ogden will return as international correspondent for CVG and Edge-Online on December 1st. He can still be contacted at Ogden.Gavin@gmail.com. SEGA The publisher has promoted KARL JOHNS to head of UK sales. Johns steps into the role left vacant by
JOHN CLARK, who became Sega’s UK MD in April. Johns previously worked as business sector manager at Sega, following a stint at Midway as national accounts manager. “I am delighted to announce the promotion of Karl to head of UK sales at Sega Europe,” said Clark. “Karl now takes full responsibility of the UK sales team and driving the business forward with all retail and distribution partners.” Meanwhile, SouthPeak’s SIMON COWLEY has joined Sega’s UK sales team as national account manager.
WARNER BROS The entertainment giant’s UK MD and president JOSH BERGER is to expand his role to include overseeing Spain as of December 1st. Berger has worked at Warner for 20 years and is a fluent Spanish-speaker having worked as MD for Warner Bros International TV Distribution in Spain and Portugal during the ‘90s. He will report to Warner Bros Entertainment president and COO ALAN HORN, as well as EVP for Warner Bros International RICHARD FOX.
Berger will work with the local executives of the various Warner Bros business units in the territory. These include games arm Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. His remit is to develop a growth plan for the market, identifying areas for driving revenues and profits, leveraging operational efficiencies and maximising cross-divisional, cross-company and third party opportunities. “Josh’s promotion is richly deserved. He has and will continue to lead the UK team with panache and aplomb,” said Fox.
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RETAILBIZ RECOMMENDED GAMES PRICE CHECK CHARTS NEW RELEASES
JIGSAW’S COMING With six movies and a rollercoaster to its name, Saw finally makes the transition to video games. P56
RIIFLEX P58 PowerPlay’s unique Wii dumbbells are ideal for Wii Fit and similar games I’M A CELEBRITY P58 The ever-popular ITV show returns and is joined by Mindscape’s game tie-in WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE P59 Warner prepares the official tie-in to this Christmas’ blockbuster kids movie MY BABY 2 P59 South Peak’s baby simulator returns to retail shelves for its second outing HIGH STREET P62 This week MCV visits stores in Bury St. Edmunds and speaks to Telford-based indie The Game Cave...
RETAILBIZ: SAW: THE GAME 56 MCV 13/11/09
Saw: The Game pits players against grisly puzzles recognisable from the horror movie series
RETAILBIZ: SAW: THE GAME WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 13/11/09 57
Konami unleashes the horrors of the Jigsaw Killer’s deadly traps as the official video game to the Saw series finally arrives… by James Batchelor AS A VETERAN of the horror genre, Konami is well-suited to bringing one of the biggest cinematic scare-fests of the decade to the realm of video games. And the publisher is keen to point out that Saw: The Game is more than just a tie-in. The game brings Xbox 360, PS3 and PC owners a brand new chapter in the saga, and Konami has gone out of its way to ensure as high a level of authenticity and atmosphere as possible. Not only does this ensure the title will satisfy avid fans of the series, it means Saw: The Game also recreates the familiar atmosphere of the films. “This is not just some knock-off cash-in,” says Konami product manager Richard Jones. “It has been carefully scripted in conjunction with the
“The use of Jigsaw and his clownlike puppet Billy, suitably grimy settings and Tobin Bell reprising his role from the movies adds a level of authenticity, while the actual puzzles are suitably grisly and recognisable from the films. In terms of recognition, the Saw series is one of the most prominent movie franchises out there. Konami has a history of producing strong horrorthemed games, and Saw is a perfect example of this.” BILLY SEASON
The key to the game’s success will be the authentic Saw-style scenario. Devised by the film’s creators, this horrific tale sees players facing the Jigsaw Killer’s deadly traps and the dire consequences of tackling each one. Saving yourself isn’t necessarily the best course of action.
We have very high hopes for the release of this game. It is set to become a vital part of the Saw multiverse. Richard Jones, Konami
movie’s creators, where the scenario mixes the moral ambiguity of the movies, with some harsh puzzles that often have macabre repercussions for the main character. “We have very high hopes for the game, and it is perceived as a vital part of the Saw multiverse.” Saw: The Game is, of course, based on the long-running and hugely popular film series that has been both delighting and shocking horror fans since 2004. Now in its fifth year, the cinematic saga has grossed more than $685 million worldwide and sold more than 28 million DVDs. So there’s no denying that Saw: The Game has a colossal audience already established and eager for more grisly thrills. “The Saw movies are the highest-earning horror titles to date, and the game is incredibly close to its movie counterpart,” adds Jones. “It is set between the first and second movies, and mixes puzzle elements with the suspense and grossout sequences of the films perfectly.
Jigsaw has killed the player’s partner and destroyed their life. They then find themselves trapped in an abandoned insane asylum littered with his tests and traps, and completely under his control. But finding a way to escape will be far more complicated than simply avoiding death at the hands of their maniacal genius. “The player has a key sewn in their stomach, which Jigsaw has told other trapped people they need in order to escape,” Jones explains. “As uneasy alliances will be formed, the player is basically left to look after number one – and that throws up some harsh realities. With puzzles featuring the likes of the ‘bear trap hat’ from the first film and some nasty booby traps, players must be alert at all times. “The game has some incredible set pieces within a very fine exploratory title. Anyone who has seen a Saw movie will remember elements such as people falling into a well of syringes, or removing a limb to get free from a chain before finding the key nearby. Saw: The Video Game has all these ingredients.”
RELEASED: NOVEMBER 20 FORMATS: 360/PS3/PC PUBLISHER: KONAMI DEVELOPER: ZOMBIE STUDIOS PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: OPEN CONTACT: 020 8987 5706
Another appealing factor is the game’s place in the Saw saga. As part of the series’ canon, fans will be able to discover the answers to many of the films’ unsolved mysteries. Most notably, they will learn about the origin of Jigsaw and why he devoted his life to these horrific tests of human nature, and they will finally discover the fate of the characters from the original movie. TRAPPING CONSUMERS
Konami has been working closely with movie studio Lionsgate to run a variety of cross-promotions with the game and the forthcoming Saw VI. Most notably, cinema adverts will hit the screens around the time of the launch to target movie-goers. The publisher has also been working with Thorpe Park on cross-promotions with the new Saw theme park ride. In addition, the game will also enjoy a strong online presence, with banners and ownership taking place across game and horror-themed sites. In terms of additional marketing initiatives, there will be extensive trade promotions using the memorably creepy Billy character – whilst a range of POS featuring the antagonist will be widely available.
The game incorporates combat and psychological elements
RETAILBIZ: RIIFLEX/I’M A CELEBRITY 58 MCV 13/11/09
Power Play’s Riiflex weights offers Wii owners a little more resistance in their workouts… by James Batchelor
RELEASED: NOVEMBER TBC FORMATS: WII
FITNESS GAMES are certain to be big sellers this Christmas. Everyone is looking for something to counter the mince pies they put away. And the knowledge that those all-important New Year’s Resolutions are just around the corner makes the public a little more health-conscious than usual. With plenty of games such as Wii Fit Plus, EA Sports Active: More Workouts and Your Shape all hitting shelves this Q4, you’d think the Wii-owning public has all it needs to shed the unsightly pounds. But peripherals specialists Power Play have proved that there is more to offer. WEIGHT A MINUTE
The Riiflex weights transform the official Wii Remote and Nunchuk into dumbbells, perfect for a proper workout. These hefty plastic shells weigh 1kg and crucially add resistance to any lifting a fitness game requires, making the exercise significantly more effective.
PUBLISHER: POWER PLAY DEVELOPER: POWER PLAY PRICE: £TBC DISTRIBUTOR: IMPACT CONTACT: 01606 881 633
The weights have been designed to make them as comfortable as possible during prolonged Wii Fit sessions. The underside has been moulded to fit comfortably around the fingers and thumb, with a dashed texture that prevents the shell from slipping out of players’ hands as they lift it. Riiflex shells also boast durability, ensuring that they last long enough for players to get plenty of use out of them. Power Play is currently planning to release additional Riiflex weights early next year. These will be available in 0.5kg/1lb and 2kg/3lb varieties, allowing gamers to tailor exercises more closely to their abilities. Additionally, a Balance Board Fitness Step will also be released designed to raise the Wii Fit peripheral off the ground.
Brave the creepy crawlies of the jungle without having to endure a day’s flight to Australia… by James Batchelor RELEASED: OUT NOW (WII)
WHEN THEY’RE not challenging cabbies to Brain Training challenges, Ant and Dec are best known these days for putting ‘celebrities’ – and we use the term broadly – through sheer hell. The annual bugfest that is I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! is almost upon us, and to help fans get back into the mood for cringeworthy challenges, Mindscape has brought the exploits of the Australian jungle to Wii and DS. Players take on the role of contestants trapped in the jungle camps. In order to dodge elimination, win the competition and generally avoid starving to death, they must master 24 mini-games that recreate the notorious Bushtucker trials. “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! is one of the biggest events in the whole TV year and this year looks like being no exception,” says Mindscape’s Mark Stanger. “The high profile of the series can only be a major benefit to the sales potential of the games. “The timing of both the Wii and DS games fits perfectly with the scheduling of the TV show and we have a very
NOVEMBER 20TH (DS) FORMATS: VARIOUS PUBLISHER: MINDSCAPE DEVELOPER: MINDSCAPE PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH CONTACT: 0870 027 0985
high profile retail campaign to ensure consumers are fully aware of the game.” Mindscape has put together an extensive trade and consumer campaign that includes some high profile online and print activity with selected partners, including The Sun and Heat. The company has also been collaborating with ITV in order to tap into the inevitable boost the new series will provide. “We have worked extremely closely with ITV in all aspects of bringing the games to market,” says Stanger. “They have been involved at every stage of the development process and as we have moved closer to the release of the games, we have worked with ITV’s commercial people. We will be supporting a range of online and PR initiatives to support the release.”
RETAILBIZ: WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE/MY BABY 2 WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 13/11/09 59
Warner brings the magic of the children’s book and upcoming family film to gamers everywhere…
South Peak brings parental delights to Nintendo gamers with the My Baby series’ Wii debut…
by James Batchelor
by James Batchelor
RELEASED: NOVEMBER 27
RELEASED: NOVEMBER 20
BASED ON the 1963 picture book of the same name, Where The Wild Things Are tells the story of Max and his travels to the land of the Wild Things – a magical realm filled with monsters created by his own imagination. Taking inspiration from the upcoming film adaptation, the game is much more story-focused as players help Max save the Wild Things and their beautiful island from impending destruction. Gamers explore the game world in order to discover new monsters, with the goal of befriending them and using their unique skills to access new areas. MONSTER MARKETING
Naturally, the release of the film will boost the game and Warner is working hard to ensure both the big screen and home console adventures perform as well as they can. “Our game is out two weeks prior to the movie release, so we plan to work closely with our theatrical team on cross-promotional activities and will benefit from the huge uplift of movie marketing activity,” says sales and
PUBLISHER: WARNER BROS DEVELOPER: GRIPONITE (CONSOLES) WAYFORWARD (DS) PRICE: £39.99 (360, PS3) £34.99 (WII) £29.99 (DS) DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
marketing director Spencer Crossley. “This will result in huge awareness for the franchise and ultimately a strong drive in game sales.” The conjunction between the games and theatrical teams will see print ads running across Empire and Cineworld magazines, targeting over 500,000 moviegoers, with additional co-promotions running alongside the original book. The game will be tagged on all theatrical advertising running on satellite and terrestrial TV channels. Additionally, game-specific spots will target housewives and kids, supported by a Facebook promotion. Where The Wild Things Are will also be playable during Warner’s Q4 shopping centre tour.
FULFILLING that inexplicable need to mother something found in almost every young girl, South Peak’s My Baby 2 allows them to guide toddlers through their early years. Players are asked to take care of a child from their first birthday until they’re three years-old. In order to progress, they must help the baby start to walk, babble and speak, catch, recognise shapes and colours – all the while trying to keep them out of trouble. “We are really excited about My Baby 2, following the huge success of My Baby Boy and My Baby Girl on DS last year,” says European marketing director Ed Blincoe. “Now we are extending the brand to Wii as well as DS, and expect both to improve the firm foundations laid by the original game. The baby genre is a proven sales success and My Baby 2 adds a lot of new and fun features, which will be a hit with old and new fans alike.” BRINGING UP BABY
My Baby 2 will be promoted with a two-week TV campaign running of
FORMATS: WII/DS PUBLISHER: SOUTH PEAK DEVELOPER: NOBILIS PRICE: £29.99 (WII) / £19.99 (DS) DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
popular kids channels. As part of this, the game will sponsor key prime time children’s programming with bumpers pointing to a microsite to include videos, wallpapers and competitions. South Peak has also teamed up with the Guide Association, targeting My Baby-related competitions at more than 330,000 Brownies and Rainbows. Further competitions are set to appear across national radio, newspapers and The Primary Times. “My Baby 2 is launching in the runup to Christmas, which is the perfect period for parents looking for a game to buy their children,” adds Blincoe. “The brand is a proven success. “In America, the original My Baby is one of South Peak’s biggest sales successes with over 500,000 copies sold through at retail.”
Genuine opportunities in games Development Management QA & Testing Sales and Marketing Audio
Animation Design Programming Art
OPM Response Ltd Tel: +44(0)1206 21 44 21 www.opmjobs.com
60 MCV563_final:43 MCV467
RETAILBIZ: NEW RELEASES 60 MCV 13/11/09
Check out MCVUK.COM/RELEASE-DATES for more
Aliens and Assassin’s set for Xmas Modern Warfare 2 may have been and gone, but November is still bursting with major video game releases. Top of the pile has to be Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed II, while Sega will launch its tie-in to the animated blockbuster Planet 51... TITLE
PS3 / XBOX 360 PSP DS DS PC PC PS2 PC DS Wii 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 PC XBOX 360 / PC PSP / DS / Wii / PS2 PC
Action Action/Adventure Action/Adventure Mini-games Simulation Simulation Music Simulation Music Self-Improvement Mini-games Racing Mini-games Casual Casual Casual Music Platformer RPG/Action Simulation Platformer RPG Simulation Sports Survival Horror Quiz FPS Adventure Action/Adventure Simulation
Ubisoft Ubisoft Ubisoft Disney Interactive First Class Simulations First Class Simulations Activision Blizzard First Class Simulations Namco Bandai EA Zushi Codemasters Mindscape Zushi Zushi Zushi Konami Activision Blizzard Rising Star Games South Peak Nintendo Nintendo Ubisoft Konami Konami Warner Games cdv Ubisoft D3Publisher EA
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Trilogy Trilogy Trilogy Centresoft Open Open Centresoft Open Advantage Centresoft Gem Gem Koch Gem Gem Gem Open Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft Koch Koch Trilogy Open Open Centresoft Mastertronic Trilogy Centresoft Centresoft
XBOX 360 PC PC Wii XBOX 360 / PS3 / Wii / DS PS2 PC Wii Wii DS DS / Wii PS3/ Wii/ 360/ PS3 XBOX 360 Wii DS XBOX 360 / PS3 XBOX 360 / PS3 / Wii Wii
Strategy Simulation Simulation Music Music Action Simulation Adventure Mini-games Simulation Action/Adventure Adventure Racing FPS Fighting Fighting Action/Adventure Racing
THQ Just Flight Just Flight Ubisoft Warner Games Namco Bandai Just Flight Zushi Ubisoft Ubisoft Mindscape Sega Disney Interactive Capcom Ubisoft THQ Warner Games Bethesda
0121 506 9585 0845 234 4242 0845 234 4242 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 0845 234 4242 01279 822 800 0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0870 027 0985 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0845 362 7769 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585
Advantage Mastertronic Mastertronic Trilogy Centresoft Advantage Mastertronic Gem Trilogy Trilogy Koch Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft Trilogy Advantage Centresoft Advantage
DS DS DS DS Wii
Non-games Non-games Non-games Non-games Mini-games
EA EA EA EA Warner Games
0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388
Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft
NOVEMBER 20th Assassin's Creed II Assassin's Creed: Blood Lines Assassin's Creed: Discovery Club Penguin: Limited Special Edition Discover Arabia Discover Europe DJ Hero (Complete Bundle) Dubai Airport: Gateway To The World Easy Piano EA Sports Active: More Workouts 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! Serious Sam HD: First Encounter Sherlock Holmes Vs Jack The Ripper The Secret Saturdays: Beasts Of The 5th Sun The Sims 3: World Adventures
NOVEMBER 27th Blood Bowl Class 60+ Freight Constellation Professional Just Dance LEGO Rock Band Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja 5 Newcastle To York - Modern North American Hunting Extraganza Peppa Pig Petz: Nursery Playmobil: Circus Planet 51 Pure Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles TMNT Arcade Attack UFC Undisputed (Platinum/Classic) Where The Wild Things Are Wheelspin
DECEMBER 4th FLIPS: Cathy Cassidy FLIPS: Enid Blyton FLIPS: Eoin Colfer FLIPS: Too Ghoul For School Game Party 3
MUSTSTOCK .....................................PLANET 51 Released: November 27th Format: PS3/Wii/360/PS3 Publisher: Sega Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 0121 625 3388
Sega’s latest movie tie-in was actually developed in the same building as the upcoming animated movie. The film features Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as spaceman Chuck Baker who lands on an already-inhabited planet, much to his surprise.
MUSTSTOCK ...................ASSASSIN’S CREED II Released: November 20th Format: 360/PS3 Publisher: Ubisoft Distributor: Trilogy Contact: 0845 362 7769
Ubisoft revisits its 2007 smash hit – after listening to fan feedback to ensure this sequel is even more of a blockbuster success than the original. Expect huge review scores and an impressive marketing campaign to drive sales this Christmas.
LucasArts and the LucasArts logo are trademarks of Lucasﬁlm Ltd. © 2008-2009 Lucasﬁlm Entertainment Company Ltd. or Lucasﬁlm Ltd. & TM as indicated. All rights reserved. LEGO, the LEGO logo and the Miniﬁgure are trademarks of The LEGO Group. © 2008-2009 The LEGO Group. All rights reserved. ‘2’, ‘PSP’, ‘PlayStation’ and ‘ ’ are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Wii and Nintendo DS are trademarks of Nintendo. Microsoft, Windows, the Windows Vista Start button, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies, and ‘Games for Windows’ and the Windows Vista Start button logo are used under license from Microsoft. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.
RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET 62 MCV 13/11/09
REVIEW SCORES MCV provides the most important average review scores of the last few days – all sourced from Metacritic...
Dragon Age: Origins PC, EA
Football Manager 2010,
DJ Hero, PS3, Activision
Tekken 6, 360, Namco Bandai
Wii Fit Plus, Wii, Nintendo
*Metacritic scores correct at the time of going to press
DEAL OF THE WEEK
WII SPORTS RESORT NEARS 7 MILLION SALES Summer headline Wii title Wii Sports Resort has sold nearly seven million copies since its release in June, according to platform holder Nintendo. As of October 30th, the game has sold 6.97 million units worldwide. Its predecessor, Wii Sports, has now passed the 50 million global sales mark thanks to sales of 4.8 million units in the last financial quarter. A number of other leading Nintendo brands have also had their sales figures published. Wii Play has to date sold 24.4 million copies, whilst Wii Fit (22.5 million), Mario Kart Wii (18.4 million) and the recently released Wii Fit Plus (2.13 million) continue to impress. On the DS front, New Super Mario Bros Wii remains the publisher’s best selling title on the twin-screened machine, having shifted 19.9 million units. Other performers include Mario Kart DS (16.1 million), Pokemon Platinum (6.4 million) and Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box (1.26 million).
DO YOU AGREE DOWNLOAD SALES WILL OUTNUMBER RETAIL AFTER 2014?
50% 23% Yes
TEKKEN 6 PS3
GTA: EPISODES FROM LIBERTY CITY 360
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010 PS3
WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2010 360
WII FIT PLUS WII
FIFA 10 PS3
DEVELOPER: SPORTS INTERACTIVE PUBLISHER: SEGA
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010 FORMAT: PC
FORZA MOTORSPORT 3 360
Let’s Wait and see
Exactly half of those who voted in the latest MCV online survey are confident that retail will hold its own against digital distribution, with less than a quarter convinced that download sales will dominate.
Take part in MCV’s next poll at www.mcvuk.com
NAMCO BANDAI ROCKSTAR KONAMI THQ
UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES PS3 TEKKEN 6 360
GOD OF WAR III ULTIMATE ENGINE REVEALED SCEA has released details of what is likely become a highly sought-after Ultimate Edition of the upcoming PS3 exclusive God of War III. Coming in a “high-end sculpted replica of Pandora’s Box” the SKU will, alongside the game itself, include a number of notable additions – chief amongst them is a full-length movie documentary.
INDIE CHARTS - ALL FORMATS LAST WEEK
DSI XL CONFIRMED FOR EUROPE Nintendo has confirmed that the newlyannounced DSi XL will launch in Europe in Q1 2010. The system boasts two 4.2-inch screens, an extra large stylus and three DSiWare titles. “Nintendo today confirms that a new Nintendo DSi XL console is launching in Europe in the first quarter of 2010,” said a Nintendo UK spokeserson. “The retail price of the Nintendo DSi XL is expected to be higher than that of the Nintendo DSi. Further details will be released soon.” The console is due for release in Japan on November 21st for Yen 20,000 (£134).
FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS ON THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS ON THE UK HIGH STREET, CHECK OUT: WWW.MCVUK.COM/RETAIL-BIZ
HMV customers receive a copy of Forza 3 and FIFA 10 for free when they pick up an Xbox 360 Elite for £199.99, saving £81.98.
MCV offers a weekly digest of the latest news on the High Street...
SONY NAMCO BANDAI
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.
OFFERING a universal charging solution, the Inductive PowerStation can be used to charge four different types of devices. Up to three battery packs can be charged at any one time. The station will be compatible with Vidis’
various battery packs developed specialist for the Wii Remote, Wii Balance Board, Xbox 360 controller, DSi and DS Lite. It will also charge the Wii Remote with the silicone jacket still on. Vidis: +49 40 5148 4017 Exclusively Distributed by
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NO FEARTM ĂŶĚƚŚĞǇĞƐĚĞǀŝĐĞΡĂƌĞƚƌĂĚĞŵĂƌŬƐŽĨEŽ&ĞĂƌ/ŶƚĞƌŶĂƟŽŶĂů>ŝŵŝƚĞĚĂŶĚƵƐĞĚƵŶĚĞƌůŝĐĞŶĐĞďǇ<ŽĐŚDĞĚŝĂ͘dƌĂĚĞŵĂƌŬƐĂƌĞƉƌŽƉĞƌƚǇŽĨƚŚĞŝƌƌĞƐƉĞĐƟǀĞŽǁŶĞƌƐ͘EŝŶƚĞŶĚŽ^ŝƐĂƚƌĂĚĞŵĂƌŬŽĨEŝŶƚĞŶĚŽ͘
To order CALL NOW on
0870 027 8700
RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 13/11/09 63 Sponsored by
FROM THE [PRE ORDERS]
TOP 10 COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 360 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD 3. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2
PS3 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
3. ASSASSIN’S CREED II
4. MAG: MASSIVE ACTION
FRONTLINE Nindie.com’s interviewee is Paul Jones from Telford’s The Game Cave… What makes your store unique? We keep our customers updated with the latest release information so they can pre-order any game, console or accessory for a small fee – and we do our very best to get it. We have very good product knowledge about games and consoles that our competitors know nothing about.
5. ASSASSIN’S CREED II
6. WII CONSOLE: BLACK EDITION
7. LEFT 4 DEAD 2
8. GOD OF WAR III
9. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2
What has been performing well? What has been underperforming? So far this year has been all about Xbox 360 for us. It’s by far our most popular format. We advertise all new releases in the same way on all formats but the other platforms are very slow sellers.
What are the biggest challenges facing your store/site? Our biggest challenges are supermarkets selling triple-A title for less than we pay for them – and of course piracy on certain platforms. How much of a threat do supermarkets pose to your store? If supermarkets keep selling games for low prices, it will affect the whole industry, not just indies. Publishers should be very careful on how it looks to consumers if supermarkets devalue their
high quality products. If they want to keep everyone happy, they should either give everyone the same deal or look to push the poorer games to the supermarkets instead of us. How much of a threat do online retailers pose to your store? You can’t control what other sites sell their products for, so we try to compete on price. If we make less profit online, it could mean we sell more units – that will put us in a better position with distributors.
PC ..................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
10. GRAN TURISMO 5
PS3 ......................................................................SONY Week ending Novemebr 6th Source: SHOPTO.COM
DJ Hero (Standard Bundle) PS3, Activision
Wii Fit Plus (Bundle) GTA: Episodes from Liberty City Football Manager 2010 PC, Sega Wii, Nintendo 360, Rockstar
Tekken 6 PS3, Namco Bandai
IN STORE: BURY ST EDMUNDS
COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 360 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD 2. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2
PS3 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
3. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2
PC ..................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
4. ASSASSIN’S CREED II - BLACK EDITION PS3 ..................................................................UBISOFT
5. ASSASSIN’S CREED II
6. ASSASSIN’S CREED II
7. F1 2009
8. BLACK NINTENDO WII
9. NEW SUPER MARIO BROS
10. LEFT 4 DEAD 2
360 ..........................................................................EA Week ending Novemebr 6th Source: PLAY.CO.UK
TO TAKE PART PLEASE CONTACT: JAMES.BATCHELOR@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK
64,65 MCV563_final:54-55 MCV553
RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS 64 MCV 13/11/09
Check out RETAILBIZ at WWW.MCVUK.COM
OFFICIALUKCHARTS NINTENDO DS THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
 [FULL PRICE]
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
MARIO & SONIC: WINTER OLYMPICS DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING STYLE BOUTIQUE RHYTHM PARADISE PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE MARIO KART DS MARIO & SONIC: OLYMPIC GAMES FIFA 10 NEW SUPER MARIO BROS
2 3 5 4 6 7 16 9 10
DEVELOPER: LEVEL 5 PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
PLAYSTATION 2 THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
SEGA NINTENDO NINTENDO NINTENDO
FIFA 10 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS, PC, PSP
WII SPORTS RESORT Wii
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010 PC
FORZA MOTORSPORT 3 360
FIFA 10 EA WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2010 THQ COD: WORLD AT WAR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD SINGSTAR MOTOWN SONY TRANSFORMERS: FALLEN ACTIVISION BLIZZARD BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE D3P DISNEY SING IT: POP HITS DISNEY GUITAR HERO 5 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD UP THQ
2 3 4 5
GRAN TURISMO FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010 GTA: CHINATOWN WARS PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010
6 7 8 9 10
5 6 7 NEW
DEVELOPER: EA CANADA PUBLISHER: EA
EA NINTENDO SEGA EA MICROSOFT
MARIO & SONIC: WINTER OLYPMICS Wii
GTA: EPISODES FROM LIBERTY CITIES 360 ROCKSTAR
PES 2010 360, PS3, PC
TEKKEN 6 360, PS3
WWE SMACKDOWN 2010 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PS2, PSP
MARIO KART WII Wii
NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT 360, PS3, PSP, PC
LEGO BATMAN PC, DS, PS3, 360, Wii, PSP
BORDERLANDS 360, PS3, PC
SINGSTAR TAKE THAT PS3, PS2
KONAMI NAMCO BANDAI THQ NINTENDO EA
PROFESSOR LAYTON: PANDORA’S BOX DS NINTENDO
SUPER SMASH BROS. BRAWL Wii
WII FIT Wii
UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES PS3
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS 360, PS3, PC
1 2 3 4
DEVELOPER: KONAMI PUBLISHER: KONAMI
DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
WII FIT PLUS
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010
1 2 3 4 6 7 8 5 9
PROFESSOR LAYTON: PANDORA’S BOX
[ENTERTAINMENT - ALL PRICES]
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010 DEVELOPER: SPORTS INTERACTIVE PUBLISHER: SEGA
THE SIMS 3
CHAMPIONSHIP MANAGER 2010
WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2010 THQ DISSIDIA: FINAL FANTASY SQUARE ENIX NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT EA STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT: SQUADRON LUCASARTS MOTORSTORM: ARCTIC EDGE SONY
OPERATION FLASHPOINT: DRAGON RISING CODEMASTERS
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010
WOW: WRATH OF LICH KING
EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR
FALLOUT 3: GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION
DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS
EA EA 2K GAMES EIDOS
KONAMI ACTIVISION BLIZZARD SEGA BETHESDA
64,65 MCV563_final:54-55 MCV553
RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 13/11/09 65
rise in sales, as Wii hardware sales enjoyed their
SKU releases across 41 games brands, making
strongest week this year.
this the most competitive release week of 2009.
Wii Fit Plus saw a three per cent rise in sales and knocked Sega’s Football Manager 2010 down from No.1 to No.4. The sports title originally beat Wii Fit Plus to No.1 when both titles went on sale, but suffered a 53 per cent drop in sales this week.
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
Highest New Entry
DJ HERO 360, PS3, Wii, PS2
RATCHET AND CLANK: CRACK IN TIME PS3
PURE 360, PS3, PC
HALO 3: ODST 360
GHOSTBUSTERS 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, DS, PSP
GRAND THEFT AUTO IV PC, PS3, 360
OPERATION FLASHPOINT 2 360, PS3, PC
WII PLAY Wii
GUITAR HERO 5 360, PS3, Wii, PS2
DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DS
LEGO STAR WARS: SAGA 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, DS, PSP LUCASARTS
STYLE BOUTIQUE DS
LEGO INDIANA JONES PSP, 360, Wii, PS3, PS2, PC, DS
MARIO & SONIC: OLYMPIC GAMES Wii, DS
ATARI ROCKSTAR CODEMASTERS NINTENDO ACTIVISION BLIZZARD NINTENDO
SEGA SUPERSTAR TENNIS 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, DS, PSP
FALLOUT 3: GAME OF THE YEAR PS3, 360, PC
RHYTHM PARADISE DS
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
STAR WARS CLONE WARS 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, DS, PSP LUCASARTS
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
2 4 11 9 7 6 3 10 14
Origins is the only new game in the Top 10. Sony had the next two highest with SingStar: Take That at No.16 and Ratchet and Clank at No.22. James.Batchelor@intentmedia.co.uk
[FULL PRICE] TITLE
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES RATCHET & CLANK: A CRACK IN TIME TEKKEN 6 PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010 NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2010 BORDERLANDS DJ HERO OPERATION FLASHPOINT: DRAGON RISING
4 3 1 6 5 7 11 8
DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA
WII THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
SONY SONY NAMCO BANDAI KONAMI EA THQ 2K GAMES ACTIVISION BLIZZARD CODEMASTERS
[FULL PRICE] TITLE
BEJEWLED TWIST DEVELOPER: POPCAP PUBLISHER: FOCUS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
MYSTERY CASE FILES: RAVENHEARST
HIDDEN EXPEDITION: AMAZON
JEWEL QUEST III
MYSTERY IN LONDON: JACK THE RIPPER
ESCAPE THE MUSEUM
MYSTERY CASE FILES: PRIME SUSPECTS
SILENT HUNTER 4: WOLVES OF THE PACIFIC FOCUS
WII SPORTS RESORT
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES SEGA MARIO KART WII NINTENDO WII FIT NINTENDO FIFA 10 EA TOY STORY MANIA DISNEY GUITAR HERO 5 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD STAR WARS: CLONE WARS - REPUBLIC HEROES LUCASARTS THE BEATLES: ROCK BAND EA GHOSTBUSTERS ATARI
2 4 3 5 7 6 9 8 NEW
DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
WOW: BATTLE CHEST
But despite the vast range of new entries hitting shelves this week, EA’s Dragon Age:
WEEK ENDING 07/11/09
Wii Sports Resort saw a whopping 63 per cent
fending off competition from more than 80 new
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
FORZA MOTORSPORT 3
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
GTA: EPISODES FROM LIBERTY CITY FIFA 10 DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS HALO 3: ODST WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2010 BORDERLANDS TEKKEN 6 DJ HERO PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010
2 3 NEW
8 7 4 6 11 5
(c) ELSPA, Compiled by ChartTrack
NINTENDO SEIZES the top spot with Wii Fit Plus,
DEVELOPER: TURN 10 PUBLISHER: MICORSOFT ROCKSTAR EA EA MICROSOFT THQ 2K GAMES NAMCO BANDAI ACTIVISION BLIZZARD KONAMI
YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO SERVICE COMPANIES
creative and promotional SErvices 3DI Tel: 0845 4582898 www.threedi.net
Indigo Pearl Tel: +44 (0)20 8964 4545 www.indigopearl.com
The Audio Guys Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 1926 813546 www.theaudioguys.co.uk
AN.X Ltd. Tel: 020 7785 7156 www.anxagency.com
JR DESIGN Tel: +44 (0) 7824 506436 www.joeryandesign.co.uk
The Pixel Tel: 0800 043 1040 www.thepixel.com
Ark VFX Ltd. Tel: 0114 268 4999 www.arkvfx.net
Media Safari PR Tel: +44 (0)1225 471 202 www.mediasafari.co.uk
Über Tel: 0114 278 7100 www.uberagency.com
Barrington Harvey Tel: +44 (0)1462 456780 www.bhpress.co.uk
More Creative Tel: 020 7561 6010 www.morecreative.co.uk
Bastion Tel: +44 (0)20 7421 7600 www.bastion.co.uk
Multiplay Tel: +44 (0)20 7100 1337 www.multiplay.co.uk
Gfk Chart-Track Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 20 8741 7585 www.chart-track.com
Parker Consulting Ltd Tel: 07771571639 www.parkerconsulting.biz
Dilute Recordings Tel: 01483 306834 www.diluterecordings.com
PMA Marketing Tel: 020 7483 0568 www.pmamarketing.com
Eye-D Creative Ltd Tel: +44 (0)20 7407 1440 www.eye-dcreative.co.uk
RAINBOW PRODUCTIONS Tel: +44 (0)20 8254 5300 www.rainbowproductions.co.uk
FEREF Tel: +44 (0)207 292 6330 www.feref.com
RealtimeUK Tel: 01772 682 363 www.realtimeuk.com
FINK Creative Ltd Tel: 01480 302350 www.finkcreative.com
Richard Jacques Studios Tel: 07831 756977 www.richardjacques.com
Fluid Tel: +44 (0)121 212 0121 www.fluidesign.co.uk
Shorewood.Blueprint Tel: 020 7183 9666 www.shorewood-blueprint.com
Freeform.London Tel: 020 7183 6664 www.freeformlondon.co.uk
Side Tel: +44 (0) 207 631 4800 www.side.com
Frontroom Tel: 020 7384 5400 www.frontroom.com
SKYSKRAPER® Tel: +44 (0)20 7252 3288 www.skyskraper.net
Game Frontier Ltd Tel: 0870 420 2424 www.gamefrontier.com
Studio CO2 Tel: +44 (0) 1483 414 415 www.studioco2.com
AntiGrav Media Ltd Tel: 01932 454929 www.antigrav-media.co.uk Hubb Accessories Tel: 01642 204343 www.playwithhubb.com Logic3 plc Tel: 01923 471000 www.logic3.com Pebble Entertainment GmbH Tel: +49 (231) – 477 927 0 www.pebble-entertainment.com/en Pinpoint Consumer Elec. Tel: +44 (0) 1606 558 428 www.pinpointce.co.uk
international distribution ComputerLand doo Tel: +381 11 309 95 95 www.computerland.rs CURVEBALL LEISURE Tel: 01792 652521 www.thegamecollection.net Funtastic Tel: +61 3 9419 5444 www.funtastic.com.au GameStreamer, Inc. Tel: 001-813-527-0383 www.gamestreamer.net
TO BE INCLUDED IN THIS
In association with
Tel: +44 1 480 210 621 www.usspeaking.com
LOCALISTATION QA AND TESTING
4-Real Intermedia GmbH Tel: +49 (0) 69809088 - 0 www.4-real.com
Orange Studio Tel: +39 051 588 04 50 www.orangestudio.it
Harbottle & Lewis Tel: +44 (0)207 667 5000 www.harbottle.com
Absolute Quality Tel: +44 (0)141 220 5600 www.absolutequality.com
Partnertrans Tel: +44 1753 247731 www.partnertrans.com
Marriott Harrison Tel: +44 (0)20 7209 2000 www.marriottharrison.co.uk
ANAKAN GmbH Tel: +49 (0) 30531420450 www.anakan.de
PlayableGames Tel: 020 7421 6487 www.playablegames.net
Babel Tel: 01273 764100 www.babelmedia.com
Testronic Laboratories Ltd Tel: +44 (0)1753 653722 www.testroniclabs.com
Cenega Poland Sp.Zo.o Tel: +48 22 574 2578 www.cenega.com
Universaly Speaking Tel: +44 1 480 210621 www.usspeaking.com
Enzyme Labs Tel: +1 (450) 229-9999 ext.312 www.enzyme.org
U-TRAX Tel: +31 30 293 2098 www.utrax.com
ChaYoWo Games Tel: +1 917.650.0010 www.chayowogames.com Crytek UK Tel: +44 115 949 0808 www.crytek.com Data Design Interactive Tel: +44 0 1384 44 79 00 www.datadesign.uk.com xaitment GmbH Tel: +49 (0) 6897-600 80-0 www.xaitment.com
manufacturing services Arvato digital services Tel: 0121 502 7800 www.arvatodigitalservices.com
OK Media Tel: +44 (0) 20 7688 6789 www.okmedia.com
DISCHROMATICS LTD Tel: 01495 243222 www.dischromatics.co.uk
Technicolor Tel: 0208 987 7829 www.technicolor.com
MPO UK Tel: +44 (0) 20 8956 2727 www.mpo-international.com
The Producers Limited Tel: 0845 234 2444 www.theproducers.co.uk
Multi Media Replication Ltd Tel: +44(0) 1264 336330 www.replication.com
Total Console Repair Ltd Tel: 08719 181 721 www.totalconsolerepair.co.uk
uk distribution and logistics Discstribution Tel: + 44 (0) 845 4308735 www.discstribution.com EntaTech Tel: 0333 101 1000 www.entaonline.com Gem Tel: 01279 822822 www.gem.co.uk Meroncourt Europe Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 1462 680060 www.trade.meroncourt.co.uk
recruitment Aardvark Swift Tel: 01709 876877 www.aswift.com
Game Options Ltd Tel: +44 (0)1382 731909 www.gameops.co.uk
Amiqus Tel: 01925 252588 www.amiqus.com/games
Specialmove Consultancy Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 141 585 6491 www.specialmove.com
Trilogy Logistics Ltd Tel: 0845 456 6400 www.trilogy-uk.com
GUIDE PLEASE CONTACT: ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK OR 01992 535647
68,69 MCV563_final:Layout 1
INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 68 MCV 13/11/09
International Distribution Guide AUSTRALIA
All Interactive.................Helensvale Town Centre
Koch Media GmbH...............................Rottenmann
Cidiverte Spa ...............................................Gallarate
Noviy Disk .......................................................Moscow
Play Art Multimedia Handels GmbH....Rankweil
Coop Italia..........................................Sesto F.NO (FI)
Digital Bros spa................................................Milano
EMC GROUPE CASINO..........Croissy Beaubourg
Leader Spa.................................Gazzada Schianno
Horelec S.A. ...........................................Bruxelles
CLD Distribution S.A. .........................Fernelmont
Promovideo SRL ...........................................Senago
SERBIA COMPUTERLAND DOO Kumodraska 45 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
Tel:+381(0)11 309 95 95
45 rue Delizy,
Gameworld BV............................Capelle A/D Ijssel
Fax:+381(0)11 309 95 96
93692 PANTIN Cedex, France
Email purchase: email@example.com
Email export sales: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rigu Sound B.V................2153 GB Nieuw Vennep
Cornusbaan 1, 2908 KB Capelle A/D IJssel
Tel: +31 10 298 3838 Web: email@example.com
SINGAPORE Replay Interactive....................................Singapore
GERMANY Groß Electronic .......................................Rohrnbach
Otto Group ...................................................Hamburg
Pan Vision Norway.....................................Trollasen
Playcom Software Vertriebs .......................Erfurt
Vitrex Multimedia Großhandel.....................Erfurt
SOUTH AFRICA Midigital ..............................................Johannesburg Nu Metro Interactive ......................Johannesburg
3752 LH Bunschoten-Spakenburg
Pan Vision Norway..............................................Oslo
Distribuciones Videográficas Digitales ....MADRID
Lamee Software S.L. .....................................Madrid
Phone: +31 (0)33 201 21 00
Fax: +31 (0)33 201 21 01
CD Projekt Sp. z o.o......................................Warsaw
PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE
Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D, 08034,
HUNGARY Antec .............................................................Budapest
GOODTONES GREAT GAMES LTD
1 Alkaiou Street / Office 1 /
tel. +357 22 666612 www.greatgames.com.cy
ul. Jana Szczyrki 12, 54-426 Wroclaw, Poland
Engomi / Nicosia 2404 / Cyprus
TECHLAND Sp. z o.o.
Barcelona, Spain, Tel: +34 93 492 08 89 firstname.lastname@example.org www.planetadeagostini.net
Web: www.techland.pl Phone: +48 71 354 46 10 Fax: +48 71 354 46 10
PORTUGAL ecofilmes...............................Sao Joao Da Madeira
Paseo de la Castellana 9 – 11, 28046 Madrid, Spain Tel: +34 91 789 35 50
DistribucionesVideográficas Digitales ....Madrid
GATEWAY DISTRIBUTION APS Gateway Distribution ApS +44 1279 408 665 (UK) +45 7026 0870 (DK) email@example.com www.gatewaydistribution.dk
v.2 PLAY. LDA Studio Office Marquês de Pombal – Avenida de Loulé nº 123 1069-152 -
Distribuye Palmera................................Las Palmas JC Distribuciones .............................................Getxo Shine Star, S.A...........................................Barcelona
Lisbon, Portugal Tel. 00351 21 31 46 51 0 Fax 00351 21 31 61 12 5
SWEDEN Bergsala AB............................................Kungsbacka
TO ADVERTISE IN THE INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION GUIDE
68,69 MCV563_final:Layout 1
INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 13/11/09 69
The International Distribution Guide is dedicated to promoting companies outside of the UK. If you are looking for new customers overseas, then look no further...
ALESAYI UNITED COMPANY GAME OUTLET EUROPE AB PO Box 5083 S-650 05 Karlstad, Sweden Phone: +46 54 854750 Fax: +46 54 854759 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.gameoutlet.se
Video Games Distributor in the Middle East P.O BOX 16999 Jebel Ali Free Zone Dubai U.A.E. Tel: 00971 4 883 5960 Fax: 00971 4 883 5175 E-Mail: email@example.com U.A.E. Website: www.alesayi.ae Group Website: www.alesayi.com
Panvision....................................................Stockholm SIBA AB ...................................................Gothenburg
SWITZERLAND ABC Software GmbH.......................................Buchs
PLUTO GAMES PO Box 10705, Office 103-104 Emirates Islamic Bank Building, Dubai, UAE www.pluto-games.com
Tel: +971 4261 8111 Fax: +971 4261 8112
ARAL Import..................................................Istanbul Nortec Eurasia...............................................Istanbul
SCEA HAS penned deals with a number of film companies to bring a host of new content to the PS3 video rental service. Leading the line-up is Star Wars creator LucasArts. Recent animated release Star Wars: The Clone Wars has already been confirmed for PSN, but the possibility of the entire sci-fi saga hitting Sony’s service will be exciting to PS3 owners. Other companies now on board with the US PSN video service include Cinetic FilmBuff, ContentFilm International, Image Entertainment, MPI Media Group and New Video. Sony claims that there is over 10,000 hours worth of downloadable content now available on the service, including 2,300 films and 14,400 TV episodes.
Modern Pluto Trading LLC...............Saudi Arabia NXT Global LLC .................................................Dubai Pluto Derinton Games LLC............................Egypt Red Entertainment Distribution ..................Dubai
AN AUSTRALIAN lobbyist group has called for Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to be reclassified after gameplay footage showed a player gunning down civilians at an airport. The Australian Council on Children and the Media has demanded the Australian government revise Modern Warfare 2’s rating of MA 15+. Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, council president Jane Roberts said: “The consequences of terrorism are just abhorrent in our community and yet here we are with a product that’s meant to be passed off as a leisure time activity, actually promoting what most world leaders speak out publicly against. “If that material was on the internet about how to become a terrorist, how to join a group and how to wipe out people – that would be removed because it would not be acceptable.”
VIDEO GAMES DISTRIBUTOR Tel: 1-917-627-3000 Fax: 1-718-228-4401 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.bascodistribution.com
U.S. GAMES DISTRIBUTION, INC.
SONY HAS announced five brand new PSP SKUs for Japan. The new coloured consoles includes white, blue, black and red, with a special Monster Hunter edition also planned. The new coloured packs will retail at 19,800 Yen ($220), while the Monster Hunter pack has a recommended price of 18,500 Yen ($205). All the new colours will be available from December.
16700 Schoenborn St. #2 North Hills, CA. 91343 Tel: +1 818 920 9393 email@example.com www.usgamesdist.com
Satoru Iwata has stated that Wii sales in Japan “cannot be defined as healthy.” The record-breaking console’s sales have fallen in the territory to below 50,000 units per week – despite a recent price cut. He said: “As you probably know, the current situation of Wii in Japan cannot be defined as healthy. The price cut seems to have the least impact here than other parts of the world. “It is our urgent mission to recover the momentum of Wii during the holidays utilising Nintendo's strength.”
PLEASE CONTACT ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK
70-75 MCV563_final:Layout 1
TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR
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 821047 Logic3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471 000 Meroncourt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01462 680060 Trilogy Logistics . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0)845 456 6400 GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR Total Console Repair Ltd . . . . . . . . . . . 087 19 18 17 21
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DISCSTRIBUTION . . . . . . . +44 (0)845 430 8735 . . . . . . . . . www.discstribution.com GAMING ACCESSORIES
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GAMING ACCESSORIES Pinpoint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01606 558 428 LOCALISATION Partnertrans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 247731 Testronic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 653 722 Universally Speaking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01480 210621
NYKO 360 Charge Base
SkipDr Premier Disc Cleaner Enigma DSi Necessity Kit
STORE FITTINGS AMA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01924 507217 Retail Entertainment Displays . . . . . . . 01733 239001
01606 558 428
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Road One, Winsford, Cheshire CW7 3QG www.pinpointce.co.uk Part of the Pinpoint Group
PINPOINT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01606 558428 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.pinpointce.co.uk DISTRIBUTION
"Looking for a new reliable supplier? Look no further!" Trading for over 8 years, with over 20 years of industry knowledge within the company 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 821047 Fax: +00441908 821048 Email: email@example.com web: www.keynedistribution.co.uk Unit C105, MKTWO Business Centre, 1-6 Barton Road, Water Eaton Ind Est, Milton Keynes, MK2 3HU
KEYNE DISTRIBUTION . . . . . . . 01908 821047 . . . . . . firstname.lastname@example.org
MERONCOURT . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1462 680060 . . . http://trade.meroncourt.co.uk
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EDITORIAL PLANNER Some of the special issues coming up in MCV, the only trade publication that covers all sectors of the market... FRIDAY NOVEMBER 20th
TERRITORY REPORT: JAPAN The Japanese games market is in upheaval, with software and hardware sales in decline and the country’s publisher superpowers looking to Europe for its profits. MCV takes an in-depth look at the territory and speaks to distributors, retailers and publishers on the future of Japan’s legendary games sector. FRIDAY DECEMBER 4th
TERRITORY REPORT: INDIA India is one of the most interesting markets for video games in the world. Despite rife piracy and under-developed infrastructure, India’s video games industry continues to grow – not least in terms of mobile. MCV takes a closer look at one of the world’s most intriguing emerging markets...
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... FRIDAY DECEMBER 11th
SPORTS GENRE FOCUS From the ongoing battle between FIFA and PES to the rise of more unorthodox 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 consumers’ stockings this Christmas.
ANNUAL RETAIL SURVEY MCV publishes the results of its annual retail 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.
FRIDAY DECEMBER 18th
REVIEW OF THE YEAR It has been a dramatic year for the UK video games industry – from a brand new PEGI rating system to significant mergers and acquisitions, involving the likes of Eidos and Midway. In this special feature, MCV runs through the highs and lows of 2009 and takes a close look at what we can expect from 2010.
FRIDAY JANUARY 8th 2010
50 THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2010 Let’s face it, 2009 was a difficult year, but with so many major blockbusters planned for 2010 – and in the first quarter as well – there is still plenty to look forward to. To prove it, MCV will list 50 things that you should be looking anticipating in the New Year, and if you’ve got any suggestions, then why not let us know?
FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT: LOGIC 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471000 . . . . . . . . . . . email@example.com
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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR DISTRIBUTION
Develop is the only dedicated publication for the UK and European games development community. It reaches over 8,000 request-only subscribers every month.
STUDIOS Epic Games ...................................................+1 919 870 1516 nDreams...........................................................01252 375754 Realtime Worlds ...............................+44 (0) 1382 202 821 Razorback ...........................................www.razorback.co.uk Stainless Games.......................firstname.lastname@example.org TOOLS Blitz Games Studios ......................+44 (0) 1926 880 000 bluegfx ..............................................+44 (0) 1483 467 200 Crytek ........................................................+49 69219 77660
CURVEBALL LEISURE . . . . . . 01792 652526 . . . . . . . email@example.com DISTRIBUTION
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 Partnertrans.......................................+44 (0) 1753 247 731 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. All subscription requests should go to email@example.com CREATIVE DISTRIBUTION. . . . 0208 6643456 . . . . www.creativedistribution.co.uk DISTRIBUTION
The Producers and Trilogy have joined forces to offer a full supply chain management service covering manufacturing, warehousing, fulfilment and distribution Save money - Pay in £ not € - Flexible Inventory
Contact Rob Gross on: +44 (0)845 456 6400 – firstname.lastname@example.org
TRILOGY LOGISTICS . . . . +44 (0)845 456 6400 . . . . . . . . . . . . www.trilogy-uk.com
TOTAL DISC REPAIR. . . . . . . . . . 01202 489500 . . . . . . . . . www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk
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ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK STORE FITTINGS
RETAIL ENTERTAINMENT DISPLAYS . . 01733 239001 . . . . . . . www.reddisplays.com STORE FITTINGS
AMA DISPLAYS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01924 507217 . . . . . . . . . . www.ama-displays.co.uk DISTRIBUTION
GEM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01279 822800 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.gem.co.uk
TOTAL DISC REPAIR. . . . . . . . . . 01202 489500 . . . . . . . . . www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk
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Insider’s | Guide
GLS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01708 725742. . . . . . . . . email@example.com GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR
This week, we speak to developer Gusto Game’s managing director Simon Phillips… Could you tell us a bit about Gusto Games? In 2007 and 2008 Gusto had continued success – supplying two new Nintendo Wii titles for the huge US publishing giant Scholastic. Looking at our success more recently, we delivered the hugely successful chart-topping Nintendo Wii version of Ashes Cricket 2009 for Codemasters this summer. Without doubt, we have the ability to deliver product within budget and always on time. Could you tell us something we didn’t know about Gusto? I’d need to know what you know to be able to tell you something you don’t know. After a number of changes over the last couple of years, Gusto
Games has become a leaner and more-focused developer of interactive entertainment experiences across multiple gaming platforms. TOTAL CONSOLE REPAIR . . . . . . 087 19 18 17 21. . . . . www.totalconsolerepair.co.uk
What are your hopes for Q4? To sustain momentum and diversity in order to strengthen our appeal as a developer to the gaming public, both in the short term and in the future.
What is the best thing about your job? There are a number of things. Firstly, we are continually being asked to think outside of the box, whilst also keeping the development team content with – and focused on – the job in hand. And, perhaps more importantly, my house is only one minute from our offices.
IDEAL SOFTWARE . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1767 689720 . . . . . . . . . . www.idealsoftware.net
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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK LOCALISATION
DIARY DATES ‘09 From the MCV Awards to our next Pub Quiz, here are all the essential industry dates to get in your diary…
NOVEMBER NEON DIGITAL ARTS FESTIVAL Thursday, November 12th Sunday, November 15th Dundee, Scotland www.northofnortheast.com PARTNERTRANS . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 247731 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.partnertrans.com LOCALISATION
Quality Matters At Testronic Labs, we help you produce great quality games. For us, quality means a game that exceeds the expectations of the players, a game that works on every platform and reads right in every language, a game that’s just right for its audience. We’re here to make it better. Testing on all major console, PC and iPhone platforms Functionality testing Translation and localisation Localisation testing PC compatibility Compliance testing MMO performance testing Usability / focus group testing New Player Experience (NPE) testing
For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org www.testroniclabs.com
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
MCV/XBOX 360 INDUSTRY PUB QUIZ Thursday, December 3rd Sway Bar, Holborn orlaith.kennedy@ intentmedia.co.uk Taking place every three months or so at the rather swanky Sway Bar in Holborn, it brings together the market’s leading publishers, retailers and media to compete for some pretty substantial prizes – and the honour of being the biggest brains in games. It’s also a very smart networking event, with buyers and publishers, editors and agencies all rubbing shoulders at the bar.
DICE SUMMIT 2010 Wednesday, February 17th – Friday, February 19th Red Rock Casino, Las Vegas, US www.dicesummit.org
TESTRONIC LABORATORIES . . . +44 (0) 1753 653 722. . . . www.testroniclabs.com
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
AUGUST GAMESCOM Wednesday, August 18th Sunday, August 22nd Cologne, Germany www.gamescom-cologne.com
UNIVERSALLY SPEAKING . . . . . . . 01480 210621 . . . . . . . . . . . www.usspeaking.com
DEVELOP INDUSTRY PUB QUIZ Monday, December 21st Sway Bar, Holborn orlaith.kennedy@ intentmedia.co.uk The game development community will reunite at the Sway Bar in Holborn this Christmas for the Develop pub quiz. Once again Develop’s Ed Fear will host the evening, as coders, testers and artists complete for pretty substantial prizes – and the honour of being the biggest brains in games. It’s also a smart networking event, with developers and outsource agencies rubbing shoulders at the bar.
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Off The Record
This week, Ideal Software’s Paul Williams fishes for a compliment, as Suzanne Shaw returns to Off The Record’s pages...
PIC OF THE WEEK What we expect when we request pics of distributors: Men in suits, near corporate logos. What we got from Paul at Ideal Software: An absolutely massive fish. Sir, we salute you. But can any other member of the industry match the scale (ha!) of his achievement? Let us know at Offtherecord@intentmedia.co.uk
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Be good if you could glue Piers’ Morgan’s head to the end of every weapon.” Charlie Brooker discusses MW2
MCV 13/11/09 77
MCV takes soundings from its Retail Advisory Board on the biggest issues of the day. The current members are... LISA MORGAN, GAME DUNCAN CROSS, ASDA MARTYN GIBBS, GAMESTATION DON MCCABE, CHIPS TIM ELLIS, HMV KEITH SHARPE, PLAY.COM SARAH JASPER, THE HUT
SHAW-LY NOT AGAIN... The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that this is the second time ex-Hear ‘Say singer Suzanne Shaw has been on these pages of late. This time, she’s promoting Disney’s A Christmas Carol game. Which is all fine. But look again – a female C-list celebrity hawking software without ANY FLESH ON DISPLAY WHATSOEVER. A step forward for feminism – or a missed marketing opportunity? Whichever, we like her little hat.
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
HAVING A MAYOR... Please observe the above picture, taken at the opening of the new Japanese-style crossing at Oxford Circus in London. Everything you’d expect is there. Quickly-accumulated crowds? Check. Massive gong, complete with Paiste logo (surely the finest gong makers in the Western World)? Check. Fluffy-haired Boris Johnson, wielding with giant percussive stick? Check. But what’s this? Girls dressed as Princesses Peach and Zelda? Shout it from the rooftops! We’re mainstream! (Rumours that the Mayor wore a bushy Mario ‘tash to fit in are still to be confirmed).
OUT: NOVEMBER 20th 2009
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78 MCV 13/11/09
OFF THE RECORD
EURO STARS So the dust has settled on this year’s EuroGamer Expo – with both publishers and consumers heralding both the Leeds and London legs of the show. Here we have a motley crew of trade attendees; from EG’s own Ellie Gibson, Johnny Minkley and Tom Bramwell to Sega’s Ben Walker, Ubisoft’s James O’Reilly and Revolution’s Charles Cecil.
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SAXON HOUSE, 6A ST. ANDREW STREET, HERTFORD, HERTFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND SG14 1JA Intent Media specialises in trade-dedicated print and digital publishing for entertainment and leisure markets. As well as MCV, Intent publishes Develop, PCR, ToyNews, Mobile Entertainment, MI Pro, Audio Pro International and BikeBiz. It also has two online-only brands: CasualGaming.biz, dedicated to the growing mass market video game sector, and Licensing.biz, for everyone in the global licensing industry. It also runs a number of events including the MCV Industry Excellence Awards, the London Games Conference and the Games Media Awards.
ISSN: 1469-4832 Copyright 2008
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