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TO SELFPUBLISH OR NOT TO SELF-PUBLISH?

THE BUSINESS OF VIDEO GAMES ISSUE 825 FRIDAY MARCH 6TH 2015

REBELLION CEO JASON KINGSLEY TALKS GOING IT ALONE P15

GAME’s involvement can only enhance the growth of eSports. John Clark, Sega

GAME and Multiplay are well-placed to foster the growth of competitive gaming. Steve Young, Activision Blizzard

Competition within the eSports sector is stronger than ever. Last year’s Multiplay Insomnia festivals saw a 64 per cent increase in visitors in the UK

Piers Harding-Rolls, IHS

‘GAME will turbocharge eSports in the UK’ UK publishers and analysts hail retailer’s ‘smart’ move into pro-gaming by Christopher Dring GAME’S £20m swoop for Multiplay can transform eSports in the UK, say leading industry execs. The retail giant acquired the events organiser – famous for the Insomnia festivals – this week, and Multiplay’s founder Craig Fletcher told MCV that the deal will drive eSports success across Britain. “The backing of GAME allows us to turbocharge growth and be the driving force behind this emerging and exciting market,” he said. A number of games industry figures have also praised the move.

“Competitive gaming is a rapidlygrowing entertainment experience that gives millions around the world a new way to play, engage and compete with each other,” said Activision Blizzard’s SVP of Europe Steve Young. “GAME and Multiplay are well-placed to foster the growth of competitive gaming and deliver great experiences.” Jeremy Dale, Microsoft’s corporate VP of retail sales and marketing, added: “It’s great to see one of our key retail partners expand into the growing eSports market. Bringing new experiences to consumers is always at the forefront of our minds

– and we can realise this by work closely with partners such as GAME.” The acquisition comes at a critical time for GAME, which issued a profit warning in January following aggressive discounting over Christmas. The firm also faced demotion from the FTSE 250. “It’s a very smart move,” said Sega’s senior VP for commercial publishing John Clark. “The games business is more than a transactional model. This move underpins GAME’s commitment to driving community relationships and extending its brand. “eSports continue to grow in importance to the industry and

GAME’s involvement can only enhance that.” IHS analyst Piers Harding-Rolls added: “For GAME to invest in eSports is a natural evolution for the company as it seeks to diversify its business away from pure retail. “Multiplay has been acquired at a time when eSports is starting to develop in the UK, but also when competition within the sector is stronger than ever. The acquisition shows that GAME is willing to make strategically significant bets to foster longer-term growth.” Turn to page 4 for our interview with GAME and Multiplay

PLUS DOES 1080P REALLY MATTER? „ KOEI TECMO INTERVIEW


CHEAT SHEET

Market Data The games market is up this week thanks to impressive sales of Dying Light £15m

£10m

£11.4m 392,685 units

£12.5m 391,384 units

£11.9m 400,994 units

Week Ending Week Ending Week Ending Feb 15th Feb 22nd Feb 29th

Sega’s Bartholomew says that over one million people are playing Total War each month

UK RETAIL TOP 10

1

DYING LIGHT

2

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

3

Dragon Ball: Xenoverse

4

The Order 1886

5

Grand Theft Auto V

6

FIFA 15

7

Far Cry 4

8

Evolve

9

Minecraft: Xbox Edition

10

Minecraft: PlayStation Edition

WARNER BROS Activision Blizzard Bandai Namco Sony Rockstar EA Ubisoft 2K Games Microsoft Sony

SPONSORED BY

PRE-ORDER TOP 10

1

BATTLEFIELD HARDLINE + VERSATILITY DLC (XO)

2

Zombie Army Trilogy (XO)

3

Bloodborne (PS4)

4

Battlefield Hardline + Versatility DLC (PS4)

5

Zombie Army Trilogy (PS4)

Rebellion

6

Amiibo Wario (Wii U)

Nintendo

7

Final Fantasy Type 0 + Final Fantasy XV demo

8

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D (New 3DS)

9

Amiibo Toad (Wii U)

10

Dragon Quest Heroes (PS4)

March 6th 2015

EA

Rebellion Sony EA

Square Enix Nintendo Nintendo Square Enix

81% of Total War: Attila sales were digital RTS game would have been No.3, not No.21, if digital sales were counted by Alex Calvin SEGA’S strategy title Total War: Attila would have charted at No.3 in the GfK Chart-Track All Formats Top 40 if the rankings took into consideration digital sales, MCV can reveal. The title sold 21,680 copies in the UK in its first week on sale. 81 per cent of those sales were digital (including sales via Steam and other download partners), with the remainder coming via the boxed SKU. The game only managed No.21 in the Top 40, which further highlights the importance of including digital sales data in the UK charts to accurately portray the performance of titles and markets. Attila is the ninth standalone entry in the Total War series, and was the second most pre-ordered game in the franchise to date. The title came out on February 17th. Sega has also told MCV that the last five entries in the Total War series – Empire,

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Napoleon, Shogun 2, Rome II and Attila – have shifted 11m copies in total, while over 18m units of DLC have been sold. The franchise now boasts over one million unique players each month, the publisher said. “Since the release of Total War: Napoleon in 2010, we’ve built a great tradition of standalone follow-ups to our major titles, and it’s great to see Attila so well-received by fans and critics,” said Total War brand director Rob Bartholomew. “Globally we’re seeing this title reach double the sales of Napoleon in its first week and, as Creative Assembly’s home market, it’s heartening to see the UK taking its fair share of that success. With over a million people playing Total War each month now, it turns out there’s plenty of gamers who just want to watch the world burn. Who knew?”

www.mcvuk.com


CHEAT SHEET

‘Steam Machines face a battle for the average Joe’ by Matthew Jarvis VALVE’S upcoming Steam Machines will struggle to attract a more mainstream audience unless they make the platform simple to understand. That’s according to the manufacturer of one of the machines, Webhallen, which highlighted the range of companies making their own version of the Steam Machine as potentially confusing for consumers. Steam Machines are expected to launch this year, they are PC/ console hybrids that are designed to introduce PC gaming into the living room. “The largest barriers for the Steam Machines are not having one united marketing force behind the brand and the fragmentation of devices,” Anton Nilsson, purchasing manager at Webhallen told MCV. “This will make it harder to sell the machines to the average Joe.”

THE EDITOR

Nilsson added that Valve’s Linux-based operating system SteamOS, which is utilised in the Machines, would need to attract more developers to secure a large audience. “Another barrier is the amount of Linux ports of triple-A titles – some really huge titles like Battlefield are not even available on Steam for Windows.” However, Nilsson continued, the success of the Steam Machines depends on whether Valve and its hardware partners can provide enough versatility with the easy operation of a console platform. “People underestimate PCs as a living room gaming device,” he said. “You can either have like four to five separate dedicated devices that give an okay experience, or you can have one PC. Steam Machines could bring all these functions together with added ease of use.”

GAME GAMBLE ON ESPORTS IS A SAFE BET

A

ny investment in eSports is often viewed as a risk. We have been here before with professional gaming. Pro-gaming organisations promote themselves aggressively, attract big investment, only for them to collapse and leave investors walking away with holes in their pockets. It’s perhaps why investment in this current eSports resurgence has been so tentative. Yet even if the eSports obsession - driven by the seemingly unstoppable rise of live-streaming platform Twitch - is only a temporary fad (it isn’t), GAME has still made a shrewd purchase in Multiplay. The competitive gaming firm has been through it all. It has ridden the eSports rollercoaster and held on, not out of luck but out of a genuine love for competitive play. But aside from its resilience, it is also a good events business, which is the crucial element here. Since GAME’s recovery, the retailer has always insisted its future is in marketing games to consumers and running local and national events. Multiplay is just the expertise it needs to deliver on that goal. THE RACE TO SHELVES IS ON FOR VIRTUAL REALITY The teams at Oculus and PlayStation will have gone to GDC this year with a reason to be fearful. Over the last 12 months some of the biggest names

A lack of unified message is determinal to Steam Machines like Webhallen’s, says purchasing director Nilsson (left)

www.mcvuk.com

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GAME insists its future is in marketing games and running events. Multiplay has the expertise needed to deliver on that goal. in technology have joined the virtual reality battleground. When it was just Sony and Oculus, both competitors were complimentary of one another. The former was targeting the console space, while the latter had its eyes on the PC sector. As a result, it was a friendly rivalry. But now that Valve, Samsung, HTC and a host of other companies are all readying rival VR devices, it’s time to stop playing nice and actually release the headsets. The Oculus Rift has been in development for over three years and there’s now a genuine risk it won’t be the first to market - which would have been unthinkable six months ago. Oculus and PlayStation still have the expertise, the financial backing and the development and technology resource to lead the VR revolution. They just need to stop dawdling and get a consumer version to shelves, before someone else beats them to it. cdring@nbmedia.com

March 6th 2015


INTERVIEW GAME AND MULTIPLAY

GAME BETS BIG ON ESPORTS In the wake of disappointing Q4 results, GAME has splashed £20m on eSports events specialist Multiplay. An astute purchase or an unnecessary risk? Christopher Dring speaks to GAME CEO Martyn Gibbs and Multiplay’s founder Craig Fletcher

‘R

etail should get involved with eSports’. It’s a headline we’ve run several times in MCV over the last two years. The big eSports specialists believe that the High Street is its opportunity to turn pro-gaming from a niche (albeit widely watched) pastime, into something every gamer can participate in. GAME has always been the ideal candidate to lead this charge. With some 330 shops in the UK, and its repeated desire to turn its stores into ‘community hubs’, surely introducing competitive gaming into its outlets was inevitable? Yet, whenever we would meet the team at GAME and put that proposal to them, the answers we would invariably get were dismissive. Now we know why. GAME this week acquired Multiplay – the organiser of the Insomnia UK eSports series – in a deal worth £20m. So what does this mean for GAME, Multiplay and eSports as a whole? We asked GAME boss Martyn Gibbs and Multiplay CEO Craig Fletcher. Why eSports and why now? Martyn Gibbs, GAME: Our headline aim – which I’ve been speaking about for two years now – is to build the most valuable community of gamers. We need to be able to do that in-store, online and anywhere players might be interacting. If you think about all the events we have been running, all of the in-store lock-ins, the midnight openings, the ways we get involved in various events – Insomnia being one of them – we can play a fundamental part in tying together all of the gaming experiences

March 6th 2015

own eSports platform, we could have done something like this by widening out our own events portfolio. The reality is that Multiplay gives us a fantastic opportunity to run bigger and better events, both in-store and out of stores, on a local and a national level. We have been very open about our stores being community hubs and our store managers are, to all intents and purposes, community managers. They want to run more events and Multiplay will support us in delivering that. Both GAME’s Martyn Gibbs (above) and Multiplay’s Craig Fletcher (above) say that there is consumer appetite for in-store eSports events

that there are. This is a natural progression for us, so we don’t see this as completely left field. This is absolutely on-point in terms of our strategy.

years. The moment a company like Amazon spends a huge sum of money on a streaming platform like Twitch, people go: ‘What the hell? People actually watch others playing games?’. Suddenly you have mass-market interest. And then when a company like GAME makes this level of commitment it further legitimises eSports in the mass-market. It proves it is something worth taking seriously. The potential is very hard to estimate. If you look at how fast the viewer numbers are doubling in eSports, it is being measured in months and not years. It is absolutely crazy. For us, this acquisition by GAME gives us the chance to access over 17m Reward Card holders who may have never even heard of eSports or the Insomnia events. That is a huge extra market.

What is the commercial opportunity in eSports? Gibbs: We don’t just view eSports as a concept on its own, it is also about our customer lifetime value and being able to bring future income into the business via different events. Multiplay is a very successful business in its own right – it is profitable, and we believe we will be able to work alongside the team to run more and more events. It’s clear what Multiplay can offer GAME. But what can GAME do for eSports? Craig Fletcher, Multiplay: If you ask the person on the street about eSports they might say: ‘Where has this come from?’ But it’s actually been around for 20-plus

Can we expect eSports to be integrated into GAME stores? Gibbs: We could have built our

04

Could you do another big banner event like your GAMEfest expo in 2011? Gibbs: It’s too early, with the two of us just coming together, to work out if that’s something on the radar. But it is fair to say that we will be looking to run sizeable events across multiple different gaming experiences. GAME has had a tough few weeks following your profit warning in January. Is this announcement in any way a reaction to that? Gibbs: I don’t know how quickly you think you can buy a business. Obviously it wasn’t connected to that. This is about having a longterm strategy to build the most valuable community of gamers. The acquisition has been in discussion for some time. Has the slowdown in physical software sales meant you have had to escalate your move into events? Gibbs: We are not doing anything

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GAME AND MULTIPLAY INTERVIEW

other than what we said we would do from day one. It is nothing to do with current market conditions or performance, it is a core foundation point that we are putting down here. Are you planning any further acquisitions? Gibbs: If a merger or acquisition lends itself towards developing our strategy, then we will look to do it. But I haven’t anything else I can talk to at the moment. Our focus right now needs to be on Multiplay. I really want to make sure that Craig has all of the support he needs to deliver the business plan. eSports is closely associated with PC, which is the one area of gaming that GAME is not especially strong in. What is your aim for the PC market? Gibbs: You’re absolutely right. The PC gamer is not a core audience to GAME at the moment outside of physical software. We have done some really good work in

terms of being able to unlock PC downloads, where we previously haven’t. This acquisition allows us to access the right expertise – which is the Multiplay team – to aid us in getting to more gamers, with the majority of those being PC gamers. eSports has struggled to generate financial investment, particularly in the UK. Is this changing? And what role can GAME play in that? Fletcher: It is about legitimacy. Back in the Wild West days of eSports, we had a number of sponsors burned by organisations that promised lots but delivered nothing before disappearing. That left the rest of us to just pick up the pieces. We’ve reached a point now where you have people taking it very seriously, because the user numbers that are involved in some of these big tournaments cannot be ignored anymore. In the past it was easy for people to say: ‘Oh this isn’t a real thing, we don’t have

When a company like GAME makes this level of commitment it further legitimises eSports in the mass market. Craig Fletcher, Multiplay

to worry about that’. But now they can’t reach this audience via any other method. These consumers don’t watch much TV. If you want to reach them then you have to be on Twitch and the other streaming platforms. I have a slightly different definition of eSports: the moment you press play in a multiplayer game... that’s eSports. It’s not just about being the top of the Premier League, it is also about the kick around in the park and everything in-between. There is a huge market for people who would just like to get a bit of competitive action going with their mates, and the GAME store is a great venue for that. Barcraft [pub nights which gamers attend to watch Starcraft eSports matches) is something that has cropped up throughout the UK – that is people actively looking for venues to watch eSports. So there is a lot of opportunity for growth. It’s such a huge market and the engagement is going to show a lot of reward for those involved.

The Insomnia events attracted 67,000 visitors last year in the UK www.mcvuk.com

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March 6th 2015


MARKETING

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK THIS WEEK: BATTLEFIELD HARDLINE

SINCE its announcement last year, EA has run two betas for Battlefield Hardline. The most recent beta was played by 7m people. The firm is also pushing the game online. Its campaign is targeted towards Battlefield and FPS fans. Promotions have also appeared on video-on-demand services that feature crime shows. Furthermore, EA has partnered up with GAME for in-store marketing. Fans headed to GAME branches will be able to use the retailer’s Scan It app to unlock reward points, claim a free t-shirt and have a chance to enter Battlefield Hardline: Live – a competition being held in London between March 18th and 25th.

[INFO] Formats: PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Released: March 20th Publisher: EA Developer: Visceral Distributor: CentreSoft Contact: 0121 625 3388

IN THEIR OWN WORDS BATTLEFIELD Hardline is a new take on the franchise with Visceral Studios bringing a fresh direction to the game with the cops and criminals theme. Five brand new multiplayer game modes – Heist, Blood Money, Hotwire, Rescue and Crosshair – have been created specifically for Hardline along with two classic modes – Conquest and Team Deathmatch. These seven multiplayer modes can be played across nine new maps that have a range of locations such as a Hollywood Hills mansion, to the

heart of downtown Los Angeles past the Florida Everglades. In addition to the new theme and the multiplayer maps and modes, Visceral has delivered an episodic single player campaign that is a fresh and stylish new entry to the franchise inspired by TV dramas. This all comes together to deliver the complete first person shooter experience, and what we hope is the first blockbuster of the year.

Alice Brandvik Senior Product Manager, Shooter and Action, EA

HOW ARE GAMES AND CONSOLES BEING ADVERTISED ON TV? This week GameTime looks at how different length trailers are being used to promote games

100

7%

Percentage deployment of individual tvrs by second length

90 80

30%

70 64%

60 50 40 63%

30 20

34%

10 00

2%

January 2014 TVR % 10 sec

20 sec

January 2015 TVR % 30 sec

60 sec

SO how do advertisers choose to promote games on TV? Is ten seconds enough? Is 30 seconds too long? When reviewing year-onyear data, we can see that 30 second ads have declined 34 per cent year-to-date. But yearto-date we’ve seen four brands buck the trend and deploy longer 60 second formats, representing seven per cent of all TV ads year-to-date. Three in five 60 second campaigns came from SuperCell, which ran these longer formats across a vast number of channels, such as Comedy Central and E4, to maximise coverage against the full communication. There has also been a surge in the popularity of 20 second ads.

The 20 second spot is the dominant commercial length in games TV ads, accounting for nearly two thirds of all TVRs in January 2015. But some of this year’s biggest campaigns have not exclusively used 20 second spots. King’s Bubble Witch Saga, Farm Heroes Saga and all Supercell games have used a mix to strengthen their strategy and avoid ad fatigue. While ten seconds ads can be argued to be too short to communicate a message efficiently, it certainly seems that the industry is missing a trick. Ten second creatives are an effective way of rapidly building frequency, with the ads working best as reminders as opposed to creating a longer product message.

MCV GameTime is provided by Generation Media 0207 255 4650 | www.generationmedia.co.uk

March 6th 2015

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www.mcvuk.com


ESPORTS PRO

eSPORTS ROUND-UP THIS WEEK’S BIGGEST NEWS $1M PRIZE POOL FOR ESL’S 2015 DOTA 2 SERIES 12-month run of eSports events to kick off with $250,000 Frankfurt competition

UPCOMING EVENTS

MAY 22ND – 24TH ESL UK PREMIERSHIP MCM Expo, London Excel, London, UK The ESL UK Premiership, the company’s largest tournament since 2010, has been announced. The competition will give UK-only Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends players the chance to win £12,000. The tournaments will be spread over two months of online brackets, to culminate in offline finals at London MCM Comic Con in front of an expected 110,000 spectators.

JUNE 20TH – 21ST ESL ONE FRANKFURT Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt, Germany ESL’s Dota 2 competition returns to the Commerzbank-Arena. Players will compete for a $150,000 prize pool at what has been described as the biggest Dota 2 tournament in the world. The money on offer may even rise via community contributions.

ESL has continued its major eSports investments by announcing that this June’s $250,000 ESL Frankfurt Dota tournament will be the first in a 12-month series totalling more than $1m in prize money. After the tournament in Cologne, each subsequent event will have a minimum pool of $250,000. According to ESL,

this represents a quadrupling in investment from 2014’s Dota 2 series. It is not yet known if the pools will also feature a crowdsourced component. The announcement follows a $250,000 pledge to August’s ESL Cologne Counter-Strike: GO tournament, and a UK-only CS:GO and League of Legends competition to run at MCM Comic Con in London.

Twitch COO: ‘eSports is here, and it’s here to stay’ THE COO of live streaming giant Twitch has seemingly ended the debate concerning the legitimacy of eSports. “Anyone who’s still concerned with legitimacy needs to move on, because it’s here, and it’s here to stay,” Kevin Lin told Gamesindustry. biz. “Everybody’s paying attention, from the advertisers on down. It’s

just a search for growth. That’s what people are aspiring to now.” He expanded on the new challenge by saying: “Hopefully sponsors start to respond, pay attention, realise this is a great audience for their brand, realise it’s a growing cultural phenomenon, and embrace that. That will really help boost the scene.”

Warhammer 40,000 set for PC MOBA debut GAMES Workshop’s iconic Warhammer 40,000 brand is the latest IP to receive the MOBA treatment. Due in 2016, Whitebox Interactive’s Warhammer 40,000: Dark Nexus Arena had its beta premiered at PAX East this week. The game will star all of the brand’s staple races, such as

Marines, Orks and Tau, in an assortment of 4v4 player battles. Other races are set to be added at a later date. “Our aim is to deliver a highlypolished experience that a player of any skill level can step into and find success and enjoyment,” said Whitebox Interactive CEO Jonathan Falkowski.

A NEW OUTLET FOR eSPORTS A new channel on MCVuk.com dedicated to competitive gaming Written by experts, and guided by an advisory board of insiders Supported by a twice-weekly email newsletter sent to over 10,000 execs Get on the mailing list - email eSportsPro@nbmedia.com to register Sponsorship packages available - email ctallon@nbmedia.com for details


MARKET MOVES

APPOINTMENTS

WILLIAMS TAKES LEAD PR ROLE AT PREMIER Shake-up follows Byron’s move to Curve ORehman leaves Mind Candy OTelltale takes on Riccitiello and Feltheimer PREMIER | The PR agency has reshuffled its video games team. GARETH WILLIAMS (above, left) has been promoted to senior account director. Williams has worked at Premier since 2010, starting as an account manager, before rising to account director last September. Meanwhile, creative director LEIGH DEBBAGE (above, second from top), director of home entertainment and lifestyle STEVEN

PEARSON (far left, third from top) and digital and social strategy director CHRIS RICE (far left, bottom) will be assisting Williams and the games team. “Over the past five years, our games team has redefined public relations across interactive entertainment,” Premier executive chairman JOHN REISS said. “The media landscape is shifting so dramatically that an integrated approach is needed to ensure we continue to deliver the award-winning campaigns for which we have become renowned.”

Byron will become publishing director for indie publisher Curve Digital in July. He has been in the games industry since 1992, starting as a journalist at EMAP before moving into PR in 2003. He joined Premier in 2009. “Simon’s appointment marks the start of the next phase for Curve Digital as we look to build upon our recent transition from development studio to multi-format games publisher,” said Curve Digital MD JASON PERKINS. “We’ve long admired Simon’s work and we’re thrilled he’ll be joining the team.” Byron added: “I’ve been very fortunate to have a career full of dream jobs – but joining Curve Digital at this pivotal moment in the company’s history is genuinely the dreamiest. I’m really excited about working with some of the biggest names in game development and bringing new titles to console audiences. I can’t wait to get stuck in.”

CURVE DIGITAL | Premier’s changes precede the exit of director of games SIMON BYRON.

MIND CANDY | The Moshi Monsters company’s PR manager ANNEM REHMAN has left. Rennem joined the firm at the end of November 2011 as a PR executive, before being promoted to PR manager in 2014. She is leaving Mind Candy to work freelance. “It feels like the right time to move on to a new adventure to develop my career in new areas,” Rehman said. “I’ve loved my time at Mind Candy. It’s been a magical three-plus years with a hugely talented team. I look forward to seeing Moshi, World of Warriors and PopJam continuing to reach new heights.” Fever PR/Nelson Bostock is now handling PR for Mind

March 6th 2015

08

Candy. Enquiries should be sent to: mindcandy@feverpr.com. TELLTALE GAMES | The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones developer has made two high profile hires to its board of directors. Former EA boss and Unity CEO JOHN RICCITIELLO (top left) and film company Lionsgate CEO JON FELTHEIMER (above left) have been appointed to Telltale’s board. This follows the announcement that Lionsgate had made a ‘significant’ investment in the games company. “As Telltale continues to lead the revolution in next-generation interactive storytelling, I’m excited to welcome two top executives to our board,” said Telltale’s CEO and co-founder KEVIN BRUNER. “Jon Feltheimer and John Riccitiello have decades of experience delivering premium entertainment to audiences everywhere. “This is a time of explosive growth and opportunity for our company, and I’m thrilled to have these industry giants join us as we continue to define exceptional interactive scripted entertainment.” Riccitiello added: “Telltale has created something entirely new. Their games combine linear storytelling and gameplay in an entirely new way that is fresh, unique, and compelling. “I’m excited to partner with Kevin and his team at Telltale as they build on their success in bringing together some of what is the best of television, film and video games.”

www.mcvuk.com


EDITORIAL CONTACTS

EDITORIAL CONTACTS Christopher Dring Editor

Michael French Publisher

cdring@nbmedia.com

mfrench@nbmedia.com

Ben Parfitt Associate Editor

Alex Boucher Group Sales Manager

bparfitt@nbmedia.com

aboucher@nbmedia.com

Alex Calvin Staff Writer

Conor Tallon Account Manager

acalvin@nbmedia.com

ctallon@nbmedia.com

Matt Jarvis Staff Writer

Sam Richwood Designer

mjarvis@nbmedia.com

srichwood@nbmedia.com

Production Executive: Elizabeth Parker eparker@nbmedia.com

Finance Manager: Michael Canham mcanham@nbmedia.com

Head of Operations: Stuart Moody smoody@nbmedia.com

Head of Design and Production: Kelly Sambridge ksambridge@nbmedia.com

Circulation: Lianne Davey ldavey@nbmedia.com

your brand brand here here PROMOTE YOUR JOB EVERY WEEK THROUGH MCV PRINT AND ONLINE CONTACT CONOR TALON FOR MORE INFORMATION 01992 535 647 OR EMAIL CTALLON@NBMEDIA.COM

Saxon House, 6a St. Andrew Street, Hertford, Hertfordshire, England SG14 1JA Newbay Media specialises in tradededicated print and digital publishing for entertainment and leisure markets. As well as MCV, Newbay publishes Develop, PCR, ToyNews, Music Week, MI Pro, Audio Pro International and BikeBiz. It also has two onlineonly brands: Mobile Entertainment, dedicated to the growing mass market smartphone 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.

US Correspondent Erik Johnson ejohnson@nbmedia.com

© Newbay Media 2015 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without the express prior written consent of the publisher. The contents of MCV are subject to reproduction in information storage and retrieval systems.

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ISSN: 1469-4832 Copyright 2015

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MCV is a member of the Periodical Publishers Association. For the 12 months ending December 2009, MCV had an average weekly net circulation of 8,045. MCV’s circulation is 100 per cent named and zero per cent duplicated.

THE RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD MCV takes soundings from its Retail Advisory Board on the biggest issues in the industry. The current members are...

Charlotte Knight GAME

Steve Moore Simply Games

David Firth Shop Direct

Don McCabe CHIPS

Jon Hayes Tesco

Sarah Jasper The Hut

Gurdeep Hunjan Simon Urquhart Sainsbury’s Microsoft

Phil Moore Grainger Games

Igor Cipolletta ShopTo

Robert Lindsay Games Centre

Dermot Stapleton Get Games

Niall Lawlor GameStop

Stephen Staley Robert Hennessy Paul Sulyok Gameseek John Lewis Green Man Gaming

Phil Browes HMV

Craig Watson Dixons Retail

James Cooke Argos

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March 6th 2015


DATA FEBRUARY

MONTHLY CHARTS This February saw the launches of several promising titles, as well as two new Nintendo consoles, but the games market was still down year-on-year. Alex Calvin investigates

THIS MONTHS UPS AND DOWNS UBISOFT slips from its position at the top of the publisher ranks to third place

of its 3DS console, and the remake of cult favourite The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask was the single best-selling game of the month. This – and CAPCOM’s Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate – helped the 3DS nearly double its market share in terms of revenue and units sold. Meanwhile TAKE-TWO tops the publisher rankings thanks to the launch of new IP Evolve and continued strong sales of Grand Theft Auto V.

INDIVIDUAL FORMATS TOP 40: FEBRUARY (JAN 25TH – FEB 21ST)

THE NUMBER of 3DS games sold rose dramatically thanks to multiple launches SOFTWARE sales declined seven per cent year-on-year – 1.4m games were sold in February

CAPCOM returns to the publisher rankings after the launch of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate March 6th 2015

IN spite of a few big releases this February, the games market is tracking behind last year. 1.4m games were sold last month, representing a seven per cent decline year-on-year. Meanwhile software revenue slipped 1.8 per cent to £39.1m. Game sales have generally been slow this year, with Evolve and The Order not selling as well as some stores had been hoping for. It was a big month for NINTENDO. The platform holder released two new versions

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40

TITLE The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D The Order 1886 Evolve Evolve Grand Theft Auto V Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Grand Theft Auto V Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate FIFA 15 Minecraft: Xbox Edition Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Far Cry 4 FIFA 15 Assassin’s Creed Unity Assassin’s Creed Unity Minecraft: Xbox Edition Far Cry 4 Minecraft: PlayStation Edition FIFA 15 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Call of Duty: Ghosts Minecraft: PlayStation Edition Destiny Forza Horizon 2 The Crew Halo: The Master Chief Collection Saints Row IV: Re-Elected and Gat out of Hell Call of Duty: Ghosts Terraria Football Manager 2015 Destiny Saints Row IV: Re-Elected and Gat out of Hell Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Far Cry 4 Disney Infinity 2.0 Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Tomodachi Life FIFA 15 Pokémon Omega Ruby

10

FORMAT 3DS PS4 XO PS4 PS4 XO XO XO 3DS PS4 360 360 PS4 XO XO PS4 XO XO PS3 360 PS3 360 PS4 PS4 XO PS4 XO PS4 PS3 360 PC XO XO XO 360 360 PS4 3DS PS3 3DS

PUBLISHER Nintendo Sony 2K Games 2K Games Rockstar Activision Blizzard Rockstar Activision Blizzard Nintendo/Capcom EA Microsoft Activision Blizzard Ubisoft EA Ubisoft Ubisoft Microsoft Ubisoft Sony EA Activision Blizzard Activision Blizzard Sony Activision Blizzard Microsoft Ubisoft Microsoft Deep Silver Activision Blizzard 505 Games Sega Activision Blizzard Deep Silver Ubisoft Ubisoft Disney Warner Bros Nintendo EA Nintendo

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FEBRUARY DATA 01

SOFTWARE MARKET SHARE BY PUBLISHER [UNITS] LM 04 02 01 03 05 06 07 08 11 09

TM 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

TITLE Take-Two Activision Blizzard Ubisoft EA Nintendo Sony Microsoft Warner Bros Koch Media Sega

MARKET SHARE 14.1% 12.9% 12.4% 10.0% 9.8% 7.6% 5.8% 5.4% 3.3% 2.9%

SOFTWARE MARKET SHARE BY PUBLISHER [VALUE] LM 02 03 01 04 05 07 06 08 10 22

TM 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

TITLE Take-Two EA Ubisoft Activision Blizzard Nintendo Sony Microsoft Warner Bros Koch Media Capcom

MARKET SHARE 20.0% 12.0% 11.9% 11.4% 10.8% 9.0% 5.7% 4.4% 3.6% 2.3%

SOFTWARE MARKET SHARE BY FORMAT [UNITS] LM 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

TM 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

TITLE PlayStation 4 Xbox One Xbox 360 PlayStation 3 Nintendo 3DS PC Wii U Wii PlayStation Vita Nintendo DS

MARKET SHARE 27.2% 21.4% 17.3% 11.5% 10.5% 5.4% 2.9% 1.4% 1.4% 0.9%

SOFTWARE MARKET SHARE BY FORMAT [VALUE] LM 01 02 03 06 04 06 07 08 09 10

TM 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

TITLE PlayStation 4 Xbox One Xbox 360 Nintendo 3DS PlayStation 3 Wii U PC PlayStation Vita Wii Nintendo DS

PRESENTS

MARKET SHARE 34.8% 25.9% 12.4% 11.2% 7.6% 3.1% 3.0% 0.9% 0.8% 0.4%

02

03

ALL FORMATS TOP 40: FEBRUARY (JAN 25TH - FEB 21ST) 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40

TITLE Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Evolve Grand Theft Auto V FIFA 15 Far Cry 4 The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D The Order 1886 Minecraft: Xbox Edition Assassin’s Creed Unity Minecraft: PlayStation Edition Destiny Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Call of Duty: Ghosts The Crew WWE 2K15 Saints Row IV: Re-Elected and Gat out of Hell LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Terraria Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Disney Infinity 2.0 Forza Horizon 2 Watch Dogs Dragon Age Inquisition Rugby 15 Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Super Smash Bros LEGO Marvel Super Heroes The Evil Within Assassin’s Creed Rogue Halo: The Master Chief Collection Just Dance 2015 Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare Football Manager 2015 The LEGO Movie Videogame Alien Isolation Skylanders Trap Team Tomodachi Life Wolfenstein: The New Order The Last of Us Remastered Pokémon Omega Ruby

5 SECOND FACTS

FORMAT PUBLISHER PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Activision Blizzard PS4, XO, PC 2K Games PS4, XO, PS3, 360 Rockstar PS4, XO, PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS, Vita, PC EA PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Ubisoft 3DS Nintendo PS4 Sony XO, 360 Microsoft PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft PS4, PS3, Vita Sony PS4, XO, PS3, 360 Activision Blizzard 3DS Nintendo/Capcom PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, PC Activision Blizzard PS4, XO, 360, PC Ubisoft PS4, XO, PS3, 360 2K Games PS4, XO Deep Silver PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS, Vita PC Warner Bros PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC 505 Games/Merge PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Warner Bros PS4, XO, Wi U, PS3, 360 Disney XO, 360 Microsoft PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, PC Ubisoft PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC EA PS4, XO, PS3, 360, Vita, PC Big Ben PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, PC Ubisoft Wii U, 3DS Nintendo PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS, Vita, DS,PC Warner Bros PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Bethesda PS3, 360 Ubisoft XO Microsoft PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, Wii Ubisoft PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC EA PC Sega PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS, Vita, DS,PC Warner Bros PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Sega PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS Activision Blizzard 3DS Nintendo PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Bethesda PS4 Sony 3DS Nintendo

Read and remember these stats so you can sound clever at the next Monday morning meeting...

$7.4m

125m

£20m

42.9m

Backend platform PlayFab has secured a further $7.4m in funding, bringing the total investment in the firm to $9.9m

Steam now has over 125m active users – a dramatic rise on the 100m users the firm announced it had last September

GAME has acquired eSports firm Multiplay for £20m. The initial payment of £12.6m is coming directly from the retailer’s existing cash

The community of Valve’s popular MOBA Dota 2 reached 42.9m players in February, meaning 34 per cent of Steam users own the game

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11

PDP design & manufacture the Official Microsoft licensed Xbox ONE Charging Doc europesales@pdp.com

www.pdp.com March 6th 2015


Interactive content marketplace Indies Investors Introduction meetings In-depth funding advice Interesting venue In London In your diary: May 14th

For more information contact Conor Tallon on 01992 535647 or email ctallon@nbmedia.com


Thursday May 14th 2015 A new event for developers and publishers in a unique Central London arts space Connecting content makers and investors

Guaranteeing delegates at least 10 good intro meetings

Meet an investor or sign up the next big game

Indie Zone Parner

Event Parner


INSIGHT

INSIGHT

OPINION AND ANALYSIS FROM THE BRIGHTEST MINDS IN GAMES. THIS WEEK, BITPAY’S WOUTER VONK TALKS ABOUT THE RISE OF ALTERNATIVE ONLINE CURRENCY AND REBELLION CEO JASON KINGSLEY DISCUSSES SELF-PUBLISHING

ANALYSIS

HOW THE GAMES INDUSTRY IS EMBRACING BITCOIN (£3.85). These small payment amounts often see developers paying 15 per cent or more in fees. Bitcoin can enable games companies to accept in-app transactions with no transaction fees. Payments are also completely borderless, meaning that they can be sent from anywhere in the world, to anywhere in the world, without incurring bank charges or conversion costs. Transactions become easier for the gamer, too. Jagex, whose portfolio of online games uses a freemium model for content and cosmetic items, has started using bitcoin. Historically a user would use a credit card or gift card, but with bitcoin payments it could be just as easy as getting a payment address and sending away.

Bitpay’s European marketing manager WOUTER VONK recently worked with Jagex to help them integrate bitcoin into Runescape. Here, he discusses the payment method’s future in games

W

ith numerous players in the gaming industry, such as Xbox Live, Zynga, BigFish, Jagex and Twitch, all attracted to bitcoin’s ability to make in-game purchases more efficient and secure, it’s not surprising that adoption of the cryptocurrency is gathering pace. The industry is already experiencing massive change, partly due to the rise of mobile and tablet gaming, but also as a result of games changing from being products to services that constantly evolve after launch. Gamers can provide studios with instant feedback and help to shape their favourite titles post-release. Pricing models have also changed. High Street retailers can still expect to have sold-out pre-orders for titles such as Call of Duty and FIFA, but these are the outliers. The average price of a game in the iTunes App Store is actually just $0.68, and 90 per cent of apps are made available for free. Even the biggest games studios are now creating freemium games heavily weighted towards in-app purchases, in an attempt to reclaim shrinking margins. Swrve’s 2014 Monetization Report found that 67 per cent of in-game purchases were for amounts between $1 (65p) and $5 (£3.24), and that the average transaction value was just $5.94

March 6th 2015

The recent spike in news of mass credit card leaks is just one reason why there is increasing demand from consumers for alternative payment methods.

FRAUD PROTECTION The recent spike in news of mass credit card leaks is just one more reason why there is increasing demand from consumers for

Wouter Vonk, Bitpay

alternative payment methods. But fraudulent purchases and credit card chargebacks are a massive headache for games companies as well and, as bitcoin transactions are non-reversible, games companies may see the virtual currency as a way of protecting their revenues. Bitcoin can also help parents manage their children’s in-game spending; with parents starting to dispense allowances in bitcoins, having a bitcoin in-game purchasing model should do away with children running up big credit card bills. Bitcoin payments could offer parents a way to give children an online wallet with a small amount of funds to spend on games and in-game purchases, teaching them how to be responsible digital citizens. As long as it continues to make sense for the games industry to adopt bitcoin as its new currency, it is likely that we will see more developers integrating bitcoin into their games.

Jagex’s MMO Runescape supports bitcoin payments for in-game content

14

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INSIGHT

OPINION

TO SELF-PUBLISH OR NOT TO SELF-PUBLISH? In the first of a continuing series of features, Rebellion CEO and creative director JASON KINGSLEY discusses the Sniper Elite studio’s journey into self-publishing

T

here are advantages and disadvantages to developers self-publishing. The complex decision as to whether we should self-publish happened over an extended period of time and a series of long conversations. Ultimately, the decision will depend on the weight each different studio gives the risks and rewards. Basically, it will depend on how deep your pockets are, how confident you are in your gamemaking and scheduling skills, and where your company is in its employee structure. Publishing is not easy, nor is development, and each discipline has its own set of skills. I’d encourage any budding developer-publisher to think over their own situation carefully. Here are the key questions I would recommend addressing:

Zombie Army Trilogy is Rebellion’s first foray into selfpublishing

great games again and again to deadlines. As such, we’re well positioned to take advantage of the increasing options available to those looking to self-publish.

Publishing is not easy, nor is development, and each discipline has its own set of skills.

Do you have the capacity and capability to pick up the publishing workload? When you self-publish there are a lot more tasks you have to take on, such as approvals, retail and platform-owner negotiations and packaging design. In addition, there’s marketing, PR and community management. This is easier for purely digital PC releases. Digital-only removes the complexity and scheduling hassles of the physical manufacture of discs and boxes, and also means you don’t have to manage approvals, age ratings, distribution schedules and inventory - it’s just a case of getting the message out there and hoping people download your game. After analysing how the workload is or has been historically split between you and your publisher, if you find you have been doing much of the publisher-side tasks yourself already, and already have the staff and knowledge – or can cost-effectively hire them – then it may make sense to consider self-publishing.

Jason Kingsley, Rebellion

How strong is your cash flow and project pipeline? Working with a publisher can provide a solid underpinning for a game development business, as long as you have steady flow of projects with minimal downtime in-between and a publisher that is financially stable. Gaps in the production pipeline mean an interruption of cash flow, which needs to be planned for and, if unexpected, can be deadly for any business. Hitting development milestones on time, as agreed with your publisher, is also essential; if you miss them repeatedly, it’s likely you won’t get paid. We were in a fortunate position; we own our own IP and have multiple sources of revenue, plus expert teams who make

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15

How strong is your business track record and experience? Publishers always take a risk when they back a developer, just as you are taking a risk in backing yourself. Ultimately the decision whether to self-publish or not comes down to a balancing of risk versus reward. By choosing to self-publish Zombie Army Trilogy, Rebellion added more risk to the project, as nobody else was paying us to do the work; crucially, though, we think it’s risk we can control. It’s still just as essential to set dates and stick to them, otherwise you risk letting your ‘increased freedom’ cost you more in expensive delays. Data is also a benefit. With workfor-hire, the feedback on how your game is performing can take many months, if not years – especially when it comes to physical retail. By self-publishing, you can see on a daily basis what revenue is coming in, and what you’ll be receiving in the future, allowing you to manage post-launch investment in terms of game updates and marketing. Self-publishing is an exciting new direction for Rebellion. We’re keeping our fingers firmly crossed, and I look forward to sharing more of the experience as we progress towards the launch of Zombie Army Trilogy – and beyond.

March 6th 2015


XXX XXX DOES GAME PERFORMANCE MATTER?

IS RESOLUTION REALLY THAT IMPORTANT? A game running at 60 frames-per-second, with a resolution of 1080p, has established itself as the mark of a quality gaming experience for many players. But is hitting these two mythical numbers actually vital to a game’s success? Matthew Jarvis asks Andy Tudor of Slightly Mad Studios and Digital Foundry’s Rich Leadbetter

1

080, 60 – two simple numbers that some believe can spell success or doom for video games. 1080p is the highest resolution of standard HD displays, which determines how sharp graphics look on-screen. 60 frames-per-second (fps) is the rate action is refreshed, which affects how smooth in-game animations look. Both figures are a common topic of discussion for gamers looking to determine the technological capabilities of the consoles and quality of their titles. Andy Tudor, creative director at Project CARS developer Slightly Mad Studios, says firms should be aware of the strong influence hitting the ‘1080p 60fps’ sweet spot can have. “Numbers like 1080p and 60fps continue to act as a kind of ‘benchmark’ of how sophisticated and technically-capable your game experience is going to be – either rightly or wrongly,” he explains. “It definitely has importance – especially if it’s the deciding factor on which console or which version of a game you’re purchasing.” A MATTER OF CONTEXT There will always be a select group of consumers to whom the highest resolution and framerates will take first priority.

has little merit,” retorts Leadbetter. “Lower framerates are a trade: a compromise. A ‘cinematic’ framerate has nothing to do with a better experience for the viewer.”

Rich Leadbetter, director at performance analysis website Digital Foundry, says while PC gamers like to focus on top performance, it’s not so crucial to the more casual console consumers. “The success of titles like Watch Dogs and Battlefield 4 on console demonstrates that 1080p isn’t essential for a best-selling title,” he states. “Both are 900p on PS4 and lower on Xbox One.” However, he adds, some of the biggest games of all time owe their popularity to a certain level of performance – regardless of what platform they are on. “Some of the biggest-selling gaming franchises – Gran Turismo, Call of Duty and FIFA – are based on 60fps gameplay,” he explains. “For those games, slick, visual feedback and low latency controls are the essence of the gameplay experience.” While high performance can define a game’s appeal, the opposite can also sometimes be true. Recent titles such as The Evil Within and The Order 1886 have deliberately targeted lower ‘cinematic’ framerates. “The argument of lower framerates being more ‘cinematic’

Slightly Mad Studios’ Andy Tudor says game performance can decide which platform gamers opt to buy

The success of titles like Watch Dogs and Battlefield 4 on console demonstrates that 1080p isn’t essential. Rich Leadbetter, Digital Foundry

BEYOND THE FRAME With PC already pushing onto 4K and ultra HD, will players start expecting more from their games? “1080p is here to stay for a while yet,” predicts Leadbetter. “Because of the diminishing returns at distance, TV manufacturers are going to have problems selling 4K living room displays unless they make them considerably bigger, which is pretty much what happened in the move from standard def screens to HD. “However, I see 4K as a very promising niche market, with a higher degree of relevance to PC.” Tudor adds: “PS4 is already capable of running video at 4K, so it’ll be interesting to see if support for 4K gaming comes along on console, too. “Certainly though, higher resolutions and framerates will continue to be expected as a new standard.”

Slightly Mad Studios’ Project CARS supports up to 12K resolutions on PC

March 6th 2015

00 16

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AKIHIRO SUZUKI INTERVIEW

A GAMING DYNASTY Koei Tecmo producer Akihiro Suzuki has worked for years on the publisher’s Dynasty Warriors series. Alex Calvin speaks to him about the Japanese franchise, as well as its new release, Bladestorm

K

oei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors has been going for over 18 years now, with eight numbered releases and countless expansions and special editions. And in spite of being – for lack of a better term – very Japanese, the series has been a moderate success in the West. “Since the start we’ve managed to bring it to the Western audience as well. We’ve received very positive feedback from our fans, which is great,” says Koei Tecmo producer Akihiro Suzuki. “We’re confident that the gameplay is very accessible for a Western audience as well. Having said that, the franchise has been going on for quite a while now. People are getting used to the whole package - the gameplay, the plotline and the atmospheric setting of the game. But we need to make sure we’re keeping the series as fresh as it can be for future instalments.”

second wind because they’ve brought in new fans that hadn’t given Dynasty Warriors a chance. “So Hyrule Warriors gave the series some freshness. Now our task is to keep the new players happy now that they’ve had a chance to play. But overall with the franchise, we need to keep it fresh, both the Dynasty Warriors and the Samurai Warriors brands.” Bladestorm was designed with a European audience in mind

Hyrule Warriors brought in new fans and has helped give the Warriors series a second wind.

KICK UP A STORM Away from Dynasty Warriors, Koei Tecmo is hoping to reboot its Bladestorm IP, last seen in 2007 with Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War for Xbox 360 and PS3. “It’s been seven years now since the initial instalment and the team wanted to do a sequel, but circumstances stopped them kicking off the project at the time,” Suzuki explains. “We’ve been hearing from the core fans that they’re still playing the original Bladestorm, and want to see a new entry. “And then the new consoles came out, and they had far more capable hardware specs. The team felt now was the right time to come up with a reboot for Bladestorm.” Where the Dynasty Warriors series is set during the battles for The Three Kingdoms from Japanese history, Bladestorm is set during The Hundred Year’s War. As such, Suzuki

Akihiro Suzuki, Koei Tecmo

TEAM UP One of the ways Koei Tecmo has been keeping the series interesting is by collaborating with other IPs. Last year, the firm released Wii U exclusive Hyrule Warriors, a crossover with the Zelda series. “Over the years we’ve seen a sales decline,” Suzuki says. “The Dynasty Warriors series is targeted towards the core fans. But we’ve had a few collaborations recently that have given the franchise a

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17

believes it will speak more to a European audience. “When Bladestorm launched the intention was to make it more suitable for the Western audience,” he explains. “That’s one reason why we chose the Hundred Year Wars’. Hopefully this Bladestorm will be as successful as it was in the Japanese market.” But Suzuki doesn’t see that much of a difference between the UK and Japanese markets. “There are bigger similarities between the two than ever before,” he explains. “But we do feel that the PEGI rating system is slightly more strict than the rating system in Japan. Having said that, our games sell well, so it doesn’t bother us too much. We do feel there are restrictions in that sense, in terms of what we can make. It’s more the cultural difference between Japan and the Western audience that we do need to be careful of when creating our games.” He concludes: “People tend to take a different approach to the games here in the UK than in Japan.”

March 6th 2015


INDIE INTERVIEW KISS Sponsored by

KISS OF LIFE Founded by two industry veterans, Kiss is an indie label whose aim is to streamline the publishing process. Alex Calvin talks to CEO Darryl Still about the evolution of the business

K

iss is a company built on the principle of making the process of getting games to market as painless as possible. The firm was founded in 2012 by industry veterans Darryl Still and Peter King. In the past Still had worked at Atari and launched the publisher’s ST, Jaguar and Lynx consoles. Meanwhile, King worked at Activision, helping to launch Call of Duty in emerging territories. “We had dealt with each other, and always ran up against bureaucracy. So when we decided to start a company together, the biggest thing was that we wanted it to be red tape free,” Kiss’ CEO and publishing director Still tells MCV. “We just wanted something that was there to serve our customers and partners and was going to be easy. We don’t really call ourselves a publisher. We are a label on which indie developers can publish their titles. We’re based on the [English indie record label] Stiff Records model – whereby the indie developer owns their IP. It’s their baby. They’re the parents; we’re the teachers that nurture their games and 30 others in ways that the parents can’t. But the final responsibility always goes back to the parent. “All they do is give us their code, we get it listed everywhere and give them a large chunk of the revenue every month. We take a handling fee and a marketing fee. We are 100 per cent convinced that they will sell a lot more units than they would if they were trying it on their own.”

March 6th 2015

finish the game. We’re now looking to put a pot of cash together to have a rolling fund-source for our developers if they want it. We’re now working with over 100 developers, with more coming on board every day.”

Kiss recently released Rising World on Steam’s Early Access scheme

THE NEXT MOVE Developers keeping ownership of their IP is a big selling point for the firm. But while it’s a positive now, Still sees this as a risk further down the line – and he’s evolving the business as a result. “We’re working towards Kiss 2.0. Our start-up plan was to build our catalogue, work with developers and take titles without any investment in them,” he says. “A lot of our devs who have launched games and are really happy with us have then said they have another project on the drawing board, and that they need to go bigger, but they need some investment. We’re now working with a few key finance partners and we’re starting to invest in the development of titles from indie studios, but giving them a bit more of our experience, and taking a bit more ownership of the games. “In most cases, they are still the main owner of the IP but we’re a joint owner. We’ve done a few titles that were small and required a bit of funding just to

The developer owns the IP. It’s their baby. We’re the teachers that nuture their games and 30 others. Darryl Still, Kiss

18

DIGITAL BLISS At the moment – while it does have some boxed products – Kiss and Still are focused on selling games digitally. “To be frank, we didn’t want to get involved in inventory, and buy backs and returns and all that horrid stuff that goes on at brick and mortar retail,” Still explains. “We’ve just seen how much more straightforward it is to launch games digitally. We’ve got box partners, and we publish some of the titles with our development partners in boxes, but the margins are much smaller and they have to wait quarterly for the money. “It’s more hassle than being able to get a game on Steam. We’ve got a very small office, we don’t have huge warehouse facilities or anything required for storing inventory anywhere. We don’t have to worry about that anymore.” And though known for its PC titles, Kiss is branching out towards a few new platforms. “We’re part of ID@Xbox, we have three titles there. We’re working on the same three titles – and another game – for PlayStation.” He concludes: “We also have Kiss Mobile, so we’re dipping our toes in the mobile market, tentatively, because it’s not our key area of expertise. But we’re staffing up with people who know what they’re doing.”

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MARKETPLACE

SHELF LIFE Paul Whitfield, manager of Guisborough-based retailer Excite Games, tells MCV about what titles have been selling well, how hardware has been performing since Black Friday and his online strategy How’s business been recently? It’s been good. We had a great Christmas, and now it’s starting to pick up with some of the new releases that are coming out. What have the big sellers been for you? Well we’ve got Dying Light coming out, which was delayed, and we have a lot of pre-orders for that. And The Order did pretty well, too. Oh, and Dragon Ball Xenoverse looks like it will do

PRE-ORDER CHARTS

it’s just been quieter in terms of hardware sales.

decent numbers. We have quite a few orders for that. It’s the big, well-known ones. And zombie games always do well.

You also have a website. What proportion of your business comes from online? We’ve only had the website for a year or so and it’s a growing thing. We have it connected to Ebay, so we sell a lot through there. Overall I’d say around 20 per cent of our business comes from that, but it’s definitely growing.

How has your hardware been selling recently? They’re not selling too badly. It’s pretty close between the PS4 and the Xbox One now, but sales have quietened down since Christmas. Black Friday probably reduced sales after that period. And in the New Year

PRICE CHECK: ENFIELD

TOP 10 PRE-ORDERS 1. DYING LIGHT + HANDBOOK & DLC Warner Bros, PS4

ASSASSIN’S CREED UNITY

2. Dying Light + Handbook & DLC Warner Bros ...........................................................XO

ASSASSIN’S CREED IV: BLACK FLAG

3. Dragon Ball Xenoverse Bandai Namco ...................................................PS4 4. Amiibo Wario Nintendo............................................................. Wii U

Ubisoft, XO

ASSASSIN’S CREED ROGUE

Ubisoft, 360

Ubisoft, PS3

Ubisoft, PS4

£19.99

£29.99

£24.99

N/A

£18.99

£30.50

£24.99

£12.99

£16.50

£24.99

£19.99

£15.98

9. Amiibo Toad Nintendo............................................................. Wii U

£16.50

N/A

£25

£6.50

10. Dragon Ball Xenoverse Bandai Namco ..................................................... XO

£21.85

£27.85

£21.85

N/A

6. Final Fantasy Type-0 + FF XV Demo Square Enix..........................................................PS4

IN STORE

5. Bloodborne Sony.........................................................................PS4

ASSASSIN’S CREED III

7. Battlefield Hardline + Versatility DLC EA .............................................................................PS4

UPLOADING The latest digital releases coming to market

OLLIOLLI 2

ASSASSIN’S CREED ROGUE

SID MEIER’S STARSHIPS

The sequel to Roll7’s arcade indie skating title is out on PS4 and Vita

Last year’s PS3 and Xbox 360 Assassin’s Creed title hits PC shortly

Firaxis’s latest strategy title will be released on PC and iPad next week

OUT: NOW

March 6th 2015

ONLINE

8. Battlefield Hardline + Versatility DLC EA ................................................................................XO

OUT: MARCH 10TH

22

OUT: MARCH 12TH

www.mcvuk.com


MARKETPLACE

Excite Games 17 Market Place, Guisborough TS14 6BN

What are the big sellers on your website? We only put our pre-owned stuff on the site because that’s where we make our margins. We can be a bit more competitive with our pricing, but with new stuff we’re a bit more stuck on price. We sell a lot of stuff online that we don’t sell in the store: a lot of older games that have been sat on the shelf for ages. They seem to sell quite quickly through the website.

Phone: 01287 637 777 Website: www.exciteentertainment.co.uk

Do you sell a lot of digital content? We do sell a lot of digital stuff – we have the PlayStation content from DLCSoft. We also have the Microsoft cards as well. What more do you want from publishers on the digital side? More of a margin for us to want to push it more. We make hardly anything on it. It’s detrimental to push it when you make nothing on it.

INCOMING TITLE

WANT TO FEATURE YOUR OUTLET IN MCV? Contact acalvin@nbmedia.com or call 01992 515 303

There are a number of re-releases coming to stores, including the PC SKU of Assassin’s Creed Rogue and boxed version of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 FORMAT

GENRE

PUBLISHER

TELEPHONE

DISTRIBUTOR

PS3

RPG

NIS America

020 8664 3485

Reef

March 6th Hyperdimension Neptunia Hypercollection Screamride

XO/360

Simulation

Microsoft

01279 822 800

Exertis

The Arland Atelier Trilogy

PS3

RPG

NIS America

020 8664 3485

Reef

Zombie Army Trilogy

PS4/XO/PC

Shooter

Rebellion

01215 069 590

Advantage

Assassin’s Creed Rogue

PC

Action

Ubisoft

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DMC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition

PS4/XO

Action

Capcom

0121 625 3388

CentreSoft

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea

PS3

RPG

Koei Tecmo

01462 476 130

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PS4/PC

Platformer

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01902 861 527

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Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters

PS3/Vita

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March 10th

March 13th

March 20th Battlefield Hardline

PS4/XO/PS3/360/PC

Shooter

EA

0121 625 3388

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Bladestorm: Nightmare

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Koei Tecmo

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PS4/XO

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Square Enix

0121 625 3388

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Mario Party 10

Wii U

Party

Nintendo

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Resident Evil: Revelations 2

PS4/XO/PS3/360/PC

Horror

Capcom

0121 625 3388

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Ride

PS4/XO/PS3/360/PC

Racing

PQube

0121 625 3388

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The Awakened Fate Ultimatum

PS3

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020 8664 3485

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PS4

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March 27th Bloodborne Borderlands: The Handsome Collection

PS4/XO

Shooter

2K Games

01279 822 800

Exertis

Toukiden: Kiwami

PS4/Vita

RPG

Koei Tecmo

01462 476 130

Open

www.mcvuk.com

23

March 6th 2015


RESIDENT EVIL

RESIDENT EVIL Resident Evil has remained one of gaming’s stalwart franchises throughout its near 20-year history. Matthew Jarvis discovers the series’ success outside of games

A SERIES that helped to establish and define the market for horror video games, Capcom’s Resident Evil franchise remains one of gaming’s most reliable brands. Launched in 1996, the series has since seen 25 instalments across a range of platforms, from PC and consoles to handhelds and mobile. Between them, the games have sold more than 62 million units as of last September, according to Capcom, making Resident Evil the publisher’s most prosperous IP.

The Resident Evil games have sold more than 62 million units, making the series Capcom’s most prosperous IP.

Two of the franchise’s most popular entries are also two of Capcom’s biggest-selling individual titles. 2009 entry Resident Evil 5 is Capcom’s most popular game to date, with more than 6.5 million sales as of December 2014. Meanwhile, the game’s 2012 sequel, Resident Evil 6, is the firm’s third-biggest-selling game with 5.2 million units sold. 1992’s Street Fighter II is in second place with 6.3 million games sold.

THE RESIDENT EVIL COLLECTION BLU-RAY Spanning all of the live-action Resident Evil cinematic releases from 2002 until 2010, this boxset includes Resident Evil and its sequels Apocalypse, Extinction and Afterlife on Blu-ray. All of the films star Milla Jovovich, alongside staple characters and settings from the video game franchise such as Nemesis, the Licker, Raccoon City, STARS, Claire and Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine and Albert Wesker. This pack doesn’t include the fifth instalment, Resident Evil: Retribution, the two animated spin-offs or the upcoming 2016 cinema release Resident Evil: Rising. SRP: £15.99 Manufacturer: Sony Pictures Distributor: Sony Pictures Contact: 020 7533 1111

PREMIUM UMBRELLA CORP UMBRELLA

STARS BADGE AND CHAIN SET

RED FOREST T-SHIRT

This umbrella, fittingly modelled on the Umbrella Corp logo, can fend off the rain as well as the undead... Maybe not the undead.

This officially licensed recreation of Resident Evil’s elite special forces badge is limited to just 500 pieces worldwide.

Based on the artwork for Resident Evil 4, this vivid shirt showcases the game’s creepy forest environment and chainsaw enemy.

SRP: $34.95 (£23) Manufacturer: Capcom Distributor: Capcom Europe Contact: 020 8600 6100

SRP: £49.99 Manufacturer: Capcom Distributor: Capcom Europe Contact: 020 8600 6100

SRP: £23.40 Manufacturer: Musterbrand Distributor: Musterbrand Contact: service@musterbrand.com

March 6th 2015

24

www.mcvuk.com


RESIDENT EVIL Sponsored by

O

gaming merchandise uk

The franchise isn’t just a recordbreaking IP in games, either. With five movies based on the franchise, kicked off by Resident Evil in 2002, the Resident Evil set of films has been recognised by Guinness World Records as having the ‘Most Live-Action Film Adaptations of a Video Game’. It is also the highest-grossing film series based on a video game of all time, with over $915 million in global revenue. A sixth and final film, written and directed by

original movie series creator Paul W.S. Anderson, is set for release next year. Thanks to its prominent presence in gaming, the Resident Evil franchise has seen a massive variety of merchandise over its 19 years of history, including seven novels, figures, two animated movies, clothing and more. This range is set to be in hot demand this year, as Resi returns with the episodic adventure Resident Evil: Revelations 2.

CRIMSON HEAD WITH ZOMBIE DOG ACTION FIGURE One of the most terrifying enemies in the remake of the first Resident Evil is the crimson head, a blood-soaked, bloodthirsty spin on the classic shuffling zombie. This seven-inch figure is joined by one of the most iconic foes in the entire series – and all of horror gaming – the zombie dog.

SRP: £14.99 Manufacturer: Neca Distributor: Star Images Contact: 0207 249 4662

CHRIS REDFIELD STATUE

AXE MAN BOBBLE HEAD

WESKER SHIRT

One of Resident Evil’s original heroes, this model of Chris Redfield stands 13.5 inches high on a detailed, themed base.

The fan-favourite villain in the Resi franchise, Albert Wesker is both cruel and cool. Gamers can copy his fashion sense with this shirt.

The axe-wielding horror from Resident Evil 5 and the film series is shrunk down to miniature form in this 20cm model.

SRP: £169.99 Manufacturer: Hollywood Collectibles Group Distributor: Hollywood Collectibles Group Contact: orders@hollywood-collectibles.com

SRP: £40 Manufacturer: Insert Coin Distributor: Insert Coin Contact: 01702 521 850

SRP: £18.99 Manufacturer: Hollywood Collectibles Group Distributor: Hollywood Collectibles Group Contact: orders@hollywood-collectibles.com

www.mcvuk.com

25

March 6th 2015


HOT PRODUCTS

Sponsored by

HOT PRODUCTS MCV takes a look at the best accessories heading to UK retail. This week, Venom’s wireless vibration headset shakes up the market and Orb charges ahead with its Xbox One controller dock VENOM WIRELESS VIBRATION XT+ HEADSET VENOM has launched a wireless version of its popular XT+ gaming headset. The Wireless Vibration XT+ headset offers the same features as the original XT+. These include 40mm speaker drivers and additional 30mm vibration speaker drivers, which provide higher quality audio and utilise Venom’s vibration technology for a more immersive experience. The Wireless XT+ connects via optical connectors, and is plug and play – meaning no additional drivers are required. The headset has a wireless range of up to 10m. Compatible with all titles that support chat during multiplayer game modes, the headset boasts a noise-reducing microphone positioned on an adjustable boom, which cuts out background noise for a better level

of clarity when communicating with friends and teammates. A fully adjustable cushioned headband and ear cups are included to increase comfort when playing for long periods of time. The ear cups also feature builtin controls for audio and vibration sensitivity adjustments. A neon LED light is displayed on the exterior of the headset to show power status. The Wireless Vibration XT+ headset is suitable for use with Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, PC and Mac.

[INFO] RRP: £49.99 Release Date: Out Now Distributor: Venom Contact: 01763 284 181

ORB XBOX ONE CONTROLLER CHARGE DOCK AND BATTERY PACK ACCESSORIES specialist Orb has released a brand new peripheral aimed at Xbox One owners. The twin charge cradle is designed to neatly house two Xbox One controllers, as well as providing easy charging. The standard Xbox One pad requires AA batteries as it doesn’t include an integrated rechargeable battery. However, two rechargeable batteries for Xbox One controllers are included with Orb’s dock, meaning players will no longer have to purchase fresh batteries every time their pad runs out of charge. The dock is styled in a black colour scheme, to match the Xbox One console. A strip light runs around the bottom of the accessory, with

March 6th 2015

26

split red and green lights signifying which controller is currently charging, or fully charged. An included USB cable provides power to the peripheral, with the controllers able to charge while the Xbox One console is in standby mode. The dock will automatically halt charging when both the batteries in both controllers are fully recharged.

[INFO] RRP: £17.99 Release Date: Out Now Distributor: Orb Accessories Contact: sales@ orbaccessories.com

www.mcvuk.com


STUDIO DIVA

CREATIVE & PROMOTIONAL BRIDGE MEDIA GROUP Tel: 020 3283 8466 www.bridgemediagroup.com ........................................................................................................

DEAD GOOD MEDIA Tel: +44 (0)7780 600 728 www.deadgoodmedia.com ........................................................................................................

DIEGO MANCA MURA Tel: +44 (0) 2032909246 (UK) +39 328 2730697 (Italy) www.diegomancamura.com ........................................................................................................

FLUID Tel: +44 (0)121 212 0121 www.fluidesign.co.uk ........................................................................................................

Tel: 0117 214 0404 www.studiodiva.co.uk ........................................................................................................

LOCALISATION, QA & TESTING KEYWORDS STUDIOS GROUP Tel: +353 1 902 2730 www.keywordsstudios.com

SUPERHERO Tel: +4020 3031 6180 www.superheroscreen.com ........................................................................................................

U

........................................................................................................

LOCALSOFT Tel: +44 (0) 1934 710024 www.theaudioguys.co.uk

Tel: +34 952 028 080 www.localsoftgames.com ........................................................................................................

........................................................................................................

POLE TO WIN EUROPE LTD

ÜBER

Tel: +44 (0) 20 8607 7900 www.poletowineurope.com

Tel: +44 (0)114 278 7100 www.uberagency.com

........................................................................................................

........................................................................................................

UNIVERSALLY SPEAKING

THE AUDIO GUYS LIMITED

Localization Services

Tel: +44 (0) 1480210621 www.usspeaking.com

GAMING ACCESSORIES & MERCHANDISE

........................................................................................................

GAMING MERCHANDISE UK LIMITED

VMC

Tel: 0207 167 6997 www.gamingmechandiseuk.com

Tel: +44 (0)1753 849 700 (UK) www.vmc.com ........................................................................................................

GAME ROOM Tel: +44 (0) 20 7729 3033 www.gameroom-agency.com ........................................................................................................ BY FRONTROOM

KENNEDY MONK Tel: 020 7636 9142 www.kennedymonk.com ........................................................................................................

........................................................................................................

PRESSXTRA.NET

PERFORMANCE DESIGNED PRODUCTS LTD

(Part of the Indigo Pearl Group) Tel: 0208 964 4545 http://PressXtra.net

Tel: 01628 509047 www.pdp.com

MANUFACTURING OK MEDIA LTD

........................................................................................................ ........................................................................................................

SOUNDING SWEET LTD Tel: +44 (0) 1789 297453 www.soundingsweet.com ........................................................................................................

STUDIO CO2 Tel: +44 (0)1483 414 415 www.studioco2.com ........................................................................................................

INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION CLD DISTRIBUTION Tel: +32 81 83 02 02 www.cld.be ........................................................................................................

Tel: 02076886789 www.okmedia.biz ........................................................................................................

MONETISATION & PAYMENT MILLENNIAL MEDIA Tel: +44 (0) 207 151 3320 www.millennialmedia.com ........................................................................................................

CLICK ENTERTAINMENT LIMITED Tel: +44 203 137 3781 www.click-entertainment.com Wholesaler and distributor of video games, consoles and accessories

........................................................................................................

TO LIST YOUR COMPANY HERE AND ONLINE EVERY WEEK PLEASE CONTACT CTALLON@NBMEDIA.COM OR CALL 01992 535647


THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT AGENCIES AND SERVICE COMPANIES MEDIA & MARKETING CURSE, INC.

COMPANY PROFILE /

Tel: +1 415 856 0056 www.curseinc.com ........................................................................................................

STUDIO CO2

IGN Tel: 0203 701 5682 www.ign.com ........................................................................................................

KEY CONTACTS: Steve Cross, Director steve@studioco2.com

ADDRESS: Wey Barn 22-26 High Street Godalming Surrey GU7 1AD UK

RECRUITMENT AMIQUS Tel: 01925 839700 www.amiqus.com ........................................................................................................

LIS WELSH SEARCH & SELECTION LTD Tel: +44 (0) 7968 114812 www.liswelsh.com ........................................................................................................

SPECIALMOVE CONSULTANCY LTD Tel: +44 (0) 141 530 4555 www.specialmove.com ........................................................................................................

WAYFORWARD RECRUITMENT LIMITED Tel: 020 7734 4664 (London) 0117 966 6038 (Bristol) www.way-forward.com ........................................................................................................

OUR philosophy works like this: no middle man. You get plugged right into our studio: a collection of straight-talking creative thinkers and multi-talented, diligent professionals. You get direct contact with the people working on your project – maximising your brief and getting the most from your budget. Our client portfolio testifies to the success of this stimulating approach. Working with us taps into years of experience in the entertainment industry, a ‘can-do’ attitude in every situation and a constant thirst for the most effective creative solutions. Our glass is always full. So, for a mix that blends the best of what we do, talk to us. Whether you are after an ad campaign or a dedicated sales tool, a unique and punchy suite of POS or effective online activity. We get to know your tastes, your preferences and your story to ensure you get what you expect: intelligent, targeted creative.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS COMPANY AND MANY MORE ONLINE NOW AT:


DIRECTORY

MCV DIRECTORY KEY CONTACTS Sony DADC ............................................ +44 (0) 207 462 6200

CREATIVE Fink ................................................................. info@finkcreative.com

GAMING ACCESSORIES DISC REPAIR

L3I............................................................................+ (0)1923 471 020

Total Disc Repair ..................................+44 (0) 1202 489500

Venom ............................................................... +44 (0)1763 284181

DISTRIBUTION Click Entertainment ............................ +44 (0) 203 137 3781 Creative Distribution ......................+44 (0) 20 8664 3456 RATES

Curveball Leisure ................................... +44 (0) 1792 652521

£70 per two column box (100mm x 75mm). To run weekly for a minimum of 1 year. Please phone for other size and/or position requirements.

Enarxis Dynamic Media ............................. +302 1090 11900

DISC REPAIR

TOTAL DISC REPAIR

Tel: +44 (0) 1202 489500

March 6th 2015

Web: www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk

30

www.mcvuk.com


DIRECTORY

ENQUIRIES CONOR TALLON Tel: 01992 535647 ctallon@nbmedia.com

FINK

CREATIVE

DISTRIBUTION

CLICK ENTERTAINMENT

Artworking Mastertronic Brand Identity Ukie Localisation Rising Star Games Advertising BBFC Website Design Deep Silver Exhibition Bethesda Illustration Just Flight Appynation Digital Media IntentMedia Charity GamesAid Banners & Takeovers Konami Packaging Design Just Flight Email: info@finkcreative.com CREATIVE DISTRIBUTION

Tel: +44 (0) 208 6643456 ENARXIS DYNAMIC MEDIA

Tel: +44 (0)203 137 3781

Web: www.finkcreative.com DISTRIBUTION

email: sales@click-entertainment.com

CURVEBALL LEISURE

Web: www.creativedistribution.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0) 1792 652521

DISTRIBUTION

SONY DADC

DISTRIBUTION

Web: www.curveball-leisure.com DISTRIBUTION

Empowering your creative business

Tel: +44 207 462 6200 games@sonydadc.com

www.sonydadc.com Tel: +302 1090 11900

www.mcvuk.com

Web: www.enarxis.eu

Tel: +44 (0) 207 462 6200

31

Web: www.sonydadc.com

March 6th 2015


DIRECTORY

GAMING ACCESSORIES

L3I

GAMING ACCESSORIES

VENOM

New officially licensed products

Vibration Stereo Gaming Headset

Vibration technology for immersive gaming

Arcade Stick

Tel: + (0)1923 471 020

Web: www.logic3.com

For the authentic arcade experience

ADVERTISE WITH US

WANT TO ADVERTISE IN OUR DIRECTORY?

” and “PlayStation” are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Also, “ ” and ” ” are trademarks of the same company.

Web: www.venomuk.com Phone: +44 (0)1763 284181 Email: darren.scott@venomuk.com sam.phipps@venomuk.com tom.hodge@venomuk.com

CALL CONOR TALLON ON 01992 535647 OR EMAIL HIM AT CTALLON@NBMEDIA.COM

Tel: +44 (0)1763 284181 March 6th 2015

32

Venom UK Gaming @VenomGamingUK

w w w. v e n o m u k . c o m

Web: www.venomuk.com www.mcvuk.com


INSIDER’S GUIDE

INSIDER’S GUIDE TAKEOFF

DIRECTORY

WHO? Specialism: Creative and marketing Location: Takeoff (UK) Ltd, 18 Hoffman Square, Chart Street, N1 6DH

Develop is the only dedicated publication for the UK and European games development community. It reaches over 8,500 subscribers every month.

Alister Collins, MD of Takeoff, talks about the agency’s creative work with Assassin’s Creed and Batman

FOR GREAT ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITIES, CONTACT ALEX BOUCHER ABOUCHER@NBMEDIA.COM

Tell us about your company. Takeoff is a creative services agency specialising in the design of marketing materials, packaging, POS, collector’s editions and key art. As well as our London studio, we have design studios in France, LA and Montreal that are working on releases worldwide.

THIS MONTH’S DIRECTORY SPOTLIGHT: Epic Games .................................................. www.epicgames.com/careers

What is your biggest success to date? Despite the digitalisation of games, there’s a growing demand for collector’s editions, such as our design for Assassin’s Creed Unity Guillotine and our press kit for Batman Arkham Origins. Gamers love to have tangible collectables, and publishers are having to be more and more innovative to meet their needs. Our ethos is all about creating the most unbelievable items for fans. What projects do you currently have in the works? We are behind most of the Q3 blockbusters; you’ll have to watch this space to find out more. What are the biggest challenges you face? Every project is a challenge for us; a developer will spend years on a product and it’s our job to then create the brand and ensure consumers are excited about buying it. Every game should have a unique feeling about it, a feeling To be included in the Develop Directory (which appears every month in Develop and now every week in MCV) contact aboucher@nbmedia.com

Gamers love to have tangible collectables, and publishers are having to be more and more innovative to meet their needs. of discovery or adventure, and it’s our job to engage gamers before they pick up a controller. Tell us something about your company no one knows. We were born when Atari dissolved in 1998 – our founders were the in-house creative services team. How did you choose your company name? Takeoff was born from the concept of air travel; we deliver on time and within budget.

WANT TO FEATURE YOUR COMPANY IN INSIDER’S GUIDE? PLEASE CONTACT MJARVIS@NBMEDIA.COM OR CALL 01992 515 303

WWW.DEVELOP-ONLINE.NET www.mcvuk.com

Contact: P: +44 (0) 20 7 993 5542 W: www.takeoffstudio.co.uk E: sophia@takeoff.uk.com T: @Takeoff

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March 6th 2015


FACTFILE FRANCE Sponsored by

INTERNATIONAL FACTFILE: FRANCE Population: 66,616,416 Capital City: Paris Currency: Euro GDP (Per Capita): $45,384 KEY RETAILERS Auchan, Leclerc, Fnac, Carrefour, Micromania KEY DISTRIBUTORS Koch Media, BigBen Interactive, Exertis, Just For Games, Micromania

FRANCE continues to experience a healthy games sector, bolstered by growth in physical retail and online. French industry trade body SELL states that €2.7 billion was generated by the country’s video game market in 2014, with €1.9 billion contributed by physical hardware, software and accessories. Software made up the lion’s share of this revenue, comprising 29 per cent. Games are said to be the only cultural sector where physical retail is on the rise, with physical sales of film and books declining. According to the Q3 2014 GameTrack report from industry body ISFE and data giant Ipsos MediaCT, France is outpacing the UK, Germany and Spain when it comes to acceptance of gaming. Two thirds (64 per cent) of consumers in the country play any type of game, compared to two fifths of consumers in the

TOP DEVELOPERS Ubisoft, Quantic Dream, Bigpoint, Gameloft, Eugen Systems NOTABLE GAMES FIRMS WITH A LOCAL OFFICE Ubisoft, EA, Capcom, Activision Blizzard, Gameloft

UK and Spain, and half (53 per cent) of German consumers. The increased engagement with gaming spans the entire French consumer demographic, but is particularly prevalent in children; 91 per cent of those aged six to 10 and 94 per cent of those aged 11 to 14 play games on any format. In comparison, 70 and 75 per cent of UK children in the same two age brackets play, respectively. Online titles are particularly popular in France, with 40 per cent of gamers playing such products – double the proportion of UK players who do so. A third (34 per cent) of French gamers purchase boxed products, higher than the quarter (24 per cent) of UK consumers who opt for physical retail. This is despite a smaller range – 42 per cent of gaming products in France are launched at retail, compared with 46 per cent in the UK.

Games are the only French cultural sector where physical retail is on the rise.

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FRANCE FACTFILE

MEANWHILE IN... NORTH AMERICA A survey of US console buyers has found that the top ‘selling factor’ of Sony’s PS4 console over the Microsoft Xbox One is increased resolution THE ability to run games at the highest resolution possible appears to be the deciding factor in whether gamers buy an Xbox One or PS4. A recent report from market tracker Nielsen cited “better resolution” as the main reason US console owners sided with Sony’s machine over Microsoft’s. A number of third-party titles, including Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Watch Dogs, display at a higher resolution on PS4 than Xbox One. Other selling points revealed by PS4 owners

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included the platform’s game library and Blu-ray support, which is also offered on Xbox One. Those that went with Microsoft’s machine said that the strength of the Xbox brand was the clincher.

The so-called ‘fun factor’ was top of the list for Wii U buyers, followed by its suitability for kids, price, backwards compatibility and exclusive games.

March 6th 2015


OFF THE RECORD

OFF THE RECORD This week, GameBlast raises over £80,000 for charity, Dying Light hits retail with a seriously limited edition, the industry weighs in on ‘The Dress’ debate and Halo 2 lands on the Silver Screen HAVING A BLAST The games industry came together to do some good earlier this month, by taking on the challenge of a two-day gaming marathon – all in the name of charity SpecialEffect. Hundreds of individuals and teams across the world took part, with over 50 games companies, including GAME, Ginx, Twitch, Jagex, Sega, King, Bethesda, Team 17 and Insert Coin, getting involved. SpecialEffect’s own 24-hour livestream event, GameBlast Live, quickly broke its £5,000 target. One highlight was UKIE CEO Jo Twist battling BBC technology presenter Kate Russell in an eye-controlled racing game challenge. Russell then went on to play space sim Elite Dangerous for 12 hours, raising more than £12,000. UK retail also got involved, with Aaron Cooper from GAME being bodyslammed for a £100 donation. The Twitter hashtag for the event, #GameBlast15, even managed to trend above #Eastenders during the final weekend of the BBC soap’s much-discussed 30th anniversary. More than £80,000 has now been raised, with proceeds going to help those affected by physical disability. Donations for GameBlast can still be made at justgiving.com/ gameblastlive or by texting GBSE99 £5 to 70070.

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OFF THE RECORD DYING LIGHT, HEAVY ON THE WALLET With the retail version of Dying Light launching almost a whole month after its digital counterpart, developer Techland decided it would be best to offer fans a little something extra alongside the boxed game. So, naturally, the firm teamed up with retailer GAME to announce a one-off ‘Zombie Home Edition’ of the open-world title, priced at £250,000. Yep, you read that right. What does this hefty sum net the game’s biggest fan? Well, true to its name, the set includes a fortified zombie-proof house, built to order by UK-based outlet Tiger Log Cabins. It also comes complete with zombie-avoidance parkour lessons, a trip to Poland to meet the dev team, a human-sized zombie figurine, night vision goggles and, perhaps most strangely, adult diapers ‘for the night portions of the game’.

DRESS DILEMMA Last week the internet was gripped by a mindbending image of a dress. Some said the clothing was black and blue, while others argued it was gold and white. It was riveting. [Sarcasm doesn’t work in text - ed.] Never ones to miss a good PR opportunity, the games industry soon got involved. Check their efforts out above.

THE WEEK IN 140 CHARACTERS The Tweets you might have missed in the last seven days @RichStanton I find the Toejam & Earl Kickstarter impressive. Well thought-out and explained, looks great - nostalgia done right!

@michaelgapper Mainstream media covers fashion not unlike video games. Coverage of artistic achievements at London Fashion Week is framed in economic terms.

Richard Stanton, games journalist Thursday February 26th

Michael Gapper, Frontier Developments Friday February 20th @NeilGortz Dying Light zombie-proof house edition is cool for the same amount I will come round your’s & play [Resident Evil] Revs 2 with you dressed as Barry Burton.

@GAMESheffield Teaching my 4-year-old nephew how to play Minecraft before we move house. This is how gaming memories are made!

Neil Gorton, Capcom Tuesday February 24th

GAME Sheffield Thursday February 26th @georgeb3dr Every $60 console game is “pay to win”. It costs $60 to be eligible for winning.

@greglockley Rockstar once again showing they’re in another league when it comes to PR. GTA V delayed again? Take your time, guys. If that was EA...

George Broussard, 3D Realms co-founder Thursday February 26th

Greg Lockley, Focus Multimedia Tuesday February 24th

@MikeChannell 2015 is an HD remaster of 2014’s remade re-release of 2013.

@MajorDysentry OlliOlli 2 on March 3rd/4th, Hotline Miami 2 on March 10/11th... sorry, which of you clowns was saying the Vita was dead?

Mike Channell, Outside Xbox Thursday February 26th

Mart Mathers, Rising Star Games Wednesday February 25th

@IndoorHeroes First HTC sponsor a bunch of eSports teams now they’re making Valve’s VR headset. Big moves into gaming already this year.

@_wotta Microsoft going for it with the cheap bundles again, must want to take the lead back for February.

Joe Anderson, ShopTo Wednesday February 25th

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Chris Thomas, Twitch Monday March 2nd

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March 6th 2015


OFF THE RECORD

AN ORDER OF MAGNITUDE Ahead of the launch of its cinematic Victorian-styled shooter The Order 1886, Sony fittingly brought the new game to the Silver Screen. As part of an event with IGN, a demo of the game was shown at the Rich Mix Cinema in Bethnal Green Road, London. Creative director Ru Weerasuriya from developer Ready At Dawn provided both an introduction and a post-screening Q&A session for the gathered media guests and IGN competition winners.

SAY HALO 2 PETERBOROUGH The Order 1886 (see ‘An Order of Magnitude’) wasn’t the only cinematic event for games last week. eSports organisation European Gaming League (EGL) teamed up with the Showcase cinema in Peterborough to bring the Halo 2 grand finals in London to the big screen. The victor took home €10,000 and a wild card place at the Halo Championship Series season finals in the US, to be held in March. Attendees, meanwhile, were offered luxurious extra-large seating and an exclusive Halo T-shirt. It’s hard to say who came away the real winner.

The number of players that have played as female protagonists.

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