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THE BUSINESS OF VIDEO GAMES ISSUE 837 FRIDAY JUNE 12TH 2015

OCTOBER 2015


! ER OF V E E ERS M T GA ME Y O LL KIL A R 0 ST 30 E GG N BI THA ! E S TH RE AD O O M LR A RE

“...a pa ss prove in ion for their subjec fectiou t matte s”. r that c an Euroga mer

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SOUTH HALL MEETING ROOMS: ROOMS 301A, 301B, 302, 303A, & 303B

Sébastien Loeb Rally EVO © 2015 Published and Developed by Milestone S.r.l. All rights reserved. All manufacturers, accessory suppliers, names, tracks, sponsors, brands and associated imagery featured in this game are trademarks and/or copyrighted materials of their respective owners PROVISIONAL RATING


THE BUSINESS OF VIDEO GAMES ISSUE 837 FRIDAY JUNE 12TH 2015

CAN’T BE ‘STOPPED GAMESTOP REVEALS ITS $500M PLANS FOR MERCHANDISE P14

THE ALTERNATIVE

GUIDE TO E3

PLUS SEGA ON PC, IP AND SKIPPING E3 „ WHY DOES EVERYONE HATE FREE-TO-PLAY?


THE ALTERNATIVE GUIDE TO E3

LA

A MOMENT IN TIME: ZELDA BRINGS

DOWN THE HOUSE (2004)

CONFIDENTIAL E3 is all about the big announcements. Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo and more revealing the next Mario or Halo or Uncharted. But it doesn’t have to be. Over the next six pages are our picks of the tendo gems that you might want to hunt down at E3 this year. Mobile games, indie titles and VR projects that might take you by surprise. We’ve also spoken to the UK industry to discover tendo top tips and advice on getting the most out of the show and LA, while we’ve recounted some of the tendo iconic moments from E3’s 20-year history. So enjoy the show, and remember (REDACTED)

In what has to be one of the most ext reme reacti ons a game announcement , Nin tendo unveiled The Leg to end of Zel da: Tw ilig ht Prince ss at E3 2004 and grown men wept (really). Nin tendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto even lea on stage dressed as her o Link. Bu t there was act pt ual ly two iconic moments fro m this con fer ence. The other when new Nin tendo US exec Regg ie Fils-Aime too was k the stage and int roduce d himself by declar ing : “My to name is Regg ie. I’m abo ut kicking ass, I’m about tak ing names, and we’re about making games.” An int ern et legend was bor n.

CHECK OUT THESE INDIE GAMES moment, there are Forget Call of Duty and Halo for a dently-developed pen inde ing look a host of wonderful next best thing. the titles that could easily prove to be

ABZU

YOOKA-LAYLEE

HOLLOWPOINT

BEYOND EYES

What is it? An exquisite and immersive PC and PS4 game from the makers Journey. It’s being published by 505 Games

What is it? Gamers have paid £1.8m so the creators of Banjo Kazooie can make a game just like Banjo Kazooie.

What is it? A 2D-meets-3D side-scrolling co-op shooter, where gamers can also fire at enemies in the background. It’s from the makers of Crackdown 2.

What is it? A beautifully crafted art game where players must guide a blind girl who is searching for a cat.

Where will I find it? 505 Games. Permanent Meeting Room #505 (yes, that’s the right number)

Where will I find it? IndieCade. South Hall, Booth #601

Where will I find it? Paradox Interactive. South Hall Off Floor Meeting Rooms #2861 and #2960

Where will I find it? Team 17. South Hall Meeting Room #2959

June 12th 2015

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THE ALTERNATIVE GUIDE TO E3

S TOP SECRET TRAVEL TIP

“Uber Pool – you can go anywhere in the city for $7 if you don’t mind sharing a cab – which you rarely do.”

- PR genius on a budge t

“Use the CityMapper app. It is time to ditch Google Maps.”

-Former Street Fighter

“It is a $3 to $5 return on the underground to the show from Hollywood. Get a hotel shuttle to the tube and save $60 and a lot of time in a cab each way.”

- Publishing veteran

“Taxis can be a nightmare, go out from the South Hall main entrance and go left follow ing the building. Then you will see a taxi rank. Do not panic if there is a queue as LA cabbies are like ants, when they smell business they come very quickly.”

- Iron Man

“If you can still remember how to skateboard, take it. Or borrow a micro-scooter. All that time saved dashing between halls, hotels and other venues add up to hours you can cram even more meetings in. It sounds daft, but it works for me. And it makes it easy for people to spot you when looking for you for a meeting.”

- Master Skateboardercum-journalist

AVOID THE CONCOURSE: SHHH, YOU CAN SNEAK BETWE EN THE TWO HALLS VIA THIS SECRET WA LKWAY

ENTER THE GUNGEON

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER!

LIFESPEED

SUPER DUNGEON BR

OS

What is it? A stylish gun fighting dungeon crawler. Intrigued? You should be. It’s published by Hotline Miami firm Devolver.

What is it? A real Alice In Wonderland-inspired pop-up book that uses sensors to control a game. Think Wonderbook, only with an actual book worth owning.

What is it? A sci-fi high-speed flying racing game for 3DS, where galactic disputes are settled on futuristic tracks... of sorts.

What is it? A huge cartoony co-op dungeon crawler, with frantic four-player gameplay and combo attacks.

Where will I find it? PlayStation. West Hall Booth #4144

Where will I find it? IndieCade. South Hall, Booth #601

Where will I find it? IndieCade. South Hall, Booth #601

Where will I find it? Wired Productions. South Hall – Off Floor Meeting Room #3054

05

June 12th 2015


THE ALTERNATIVE GUIDE TO E3

CONFIDENTIAL NIGHTS OUT A MOMENT IN TIME: THE BEATLES ROCK E3 (2009)

“After a hard day, head to Sunset Strip. It’s perfect to meet friends and visit the bars and clubs – special mention to the Sky Bar at the Mondrian hotel. If you can get in.” - Game buying guru “Barneys Beanery – behind the Red Rock – on Sunset is the best place for pool – outside of the Santa Monica area.” - A UK games industry superstar “Know that the person in control of the mechanical bull at the Saddle Ranch does take bribes to slow it down for you.” - A reliable source from within Xbox “Do not have too many beers before the Sony event on the Monday. Sun plus beer plus jet lag plus dark room is a challenging formula.” - A supermarket buyer who definitely didn’t fall asleep during that Destiny demo

As game announcement s go, you don’t get much big ger than this. In 2007 and 2008 , E3 had moved to a sm aller venue, wit h smaller boo ths and few er vis itors. It was des ign ed to make the event eas ier to do bus ine ss, bu t the result s were two lar gely for get table expos. In 20 09, ES A brough t the ful l spectacle back, and publishers we nt crazy, wit h JayZ concer ts and epic game announcement s. The Band, reveal ed dur ing Xb big ges t had to be The Beatl es: Rock ox’ and Paul McCartney. Yok s press con fer ence by Ringo Starr o Ono, widow of John Len non, and Olivia Harrison, widow of Georg e Harrison, also appear ed at the press con fer ence.

“Why not try Harvelle in Santa Monica. It’s near the pier, non-tourist y and has jazz music and burlesque shows. Established 1931, it has a very nice atmosphere. Alternatively, the bungalow, Santa Monica. It’s a very popular local high class cockails bar/club in Santa Monica.” - PR party planner

CHECK OUT THESE VR GAMES announced at There will be a host of VR products already been have that e som E3. But there are also g a look at. takin revealed that will be worth your time

ADR1FT

ELITE DANGEROUS

THE LOST VALLEY VR

BANDIT SIX

What is it? A first person ‘experience’ about an astronaut perilously floating in space. Think Gravity: The Video Game.

What is it? It’s the acclaimed space sim from UK-based Frontier Developments, now with Oculus Rift support. The press really love this one.

What is it? Paper Crane Game’s VR title asks you to hunt down and photograph dinosaurs. What more convincing do you need?

What is it? A VR arial combat game that isn’t set in space (which is a nice change). It is also for mobile devices.

Where will I find it? 505 Games. Permanent Meeting Room #505 (yep, that is the right number)

Where will I find it? Frontier Developments. Permanent Meeting Room #511a

Where will I find it? IndieCade. South Hall, Booth #601

Where will I find it? Oculus. West Hall, Booth #5400

June 12th 2015

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THE ALTERNATIVE GUIDE TO E3

TS

FOOD AND DRINK SECRE

“The Original Pantry is a great old diner near the Convention Center and serves meals round the clock - but it’s cash only. It’s also a great place for journalists to hang out and earwig developers talking about things they shouldn’t.”

- Writer and photographer extraordinaire

“Show food is disgusting and it’s a nightmare to get a good glass of wine. You need to head to Palm Restaurant, where you will bump into the great and the good of the industry escaping from publishers competing sound systems and enjoying an excellent glass of chilled white Californian Wine. If your boss has ‘stepped out for a meeting’ they will be here.”

“If you have a fridge in your room, freeze a bottle of water overnight, stick it in your bag and you’ll have cold water all day as it thaws.”

“Truffle cheese fries from Umami Burger are always a good idea.”

- Microsoft exec with unusual taste

- Chilled UK games retail expert

- UK games boss of one of the world’s biggest entertainment companies

- PR who clearly enjoys an occasional glass of plonk

A MOMENT

THE ASSEMBLY

“Turn your ‘My Fitness Pal’ app off. It’s all about eating your own body weight for breakfast. Especially as you won’t have time for anything unless you are partial to copious boiled sweets with some company’s logo running through it. After 18 E3s, I still can’t work out if there is any fl avour to them.”

IN TIME: PL

AYSTATION IS

BORN (1995

)

SMS RACING

What is it? A narrative-driven adventure, where players alternate between two different characters to uncover the mysteries of The Assembly.

What is it? Turbo Button lets gamers live that illegal fantasy of texting while driving, utilising Samsung Gear VR. Can you stay on the road and keep your friends happy?

Where will I find it? NDreams. Off Floor Meeting Room, Concourse #8802

Where will I find it? IndieCade. South Hall, Booth #601

E3’s shortest speech wa s at the ver y first expo. PlayStat ion US boss Ste ve Race took to the stage to reveal the price of Sony’ s first games console. “29 9,” he said before returning to his seat to wild applau se. Sega tried to hit back by releasing its significantly mo expensive Saturn consol e that week. It didn’t work. re

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June 12th 2015


THE ALTERNATIVE GUIDE TO E3

A MOMENT IN TIME: N-

GAGE LAUNCH IS A DIS ASTER (2003)

A MOMENT IN TIME: PS4 SUPPORTS USED

GAMES (2013)

The PS4 vs Xbox One showdown at E3 2013 was defined by the moment Jack Tretton, PlayStation’s US boss, took to the stage and announced that PS4 would allow gamers to trade-in their games. It followed a proposed plan by Microsoft to tie games to Xbox One, which was greeted with a big consumer backlash. Ultimately, Tretton just announced: ‘We’ll do what we always have’, but it sent Microsoft reeling, and the audience into a frenzy.

Nokia’s bid to enter the games industry featured a squad of hip-hop dancers and games that suff ered from serious frame rate issues. If that wasn’t enough to undermine its bid for gamers’ attention, the firm announced the machine would cost $299, three times the price of its biggest rival, the Game Boy Advance. Worst of all, the firm announced the price by writing it on a bikini-clad woman - which out of context, is all sorts of inappropriate. Although, even in context, it’s still pretty bad.

S CHECK OUT THESE MOBILE GAME are a number of Hidden away in the depths of E3 have the capacity to that es gam et tabl and smartphone . Such as these... title sole con compete with any PC or

EMBER What is it? Who says mobile games can’t be deep? This is a 30-hour RPG akin to Baldur’s Gate and is looking impressive.

Where will I find it? 505 Games. Permanent Meeting Room #505 (It is definitely the right number)

June 12th 2015

FACE IT!

RELICS OF GODS

What is it? Players have to imitate cartoon facial expressions and their friends have to work out what face they’re pulling from the pictures on a screen. You’re going to look silly. Where will I find it? IndieCade. South Hall, Booth #601

08

HITMAN SNIPER

What is it? Popular Chinese mobile games developer Seasun arrives in US and Europe with this turn-based three versus three MOBA.

What is it? Do you remember the great Hitman Absolution spin-off game Hitman Sniper Challenge? This is pretty much an advanced-version of that.

Where will I find it? Seasun. South Hall, Booth #423

Where will I find it? Square Enix. South Hall, Booth #2001


THE ALTERNATIVE GUIDE TO E3

S

IP UNTOLD SHOW FLOOR T

“Register as a Retail VIP Buyer – the lounge is fantast ic.”

- A trustworthy source in box-shif ting

“It might be hot outside but the meeting rooms can be chilly. Layer up.”

- Former Nintendo marketing whizz

“Devolver sets up an E3 alternative in the cark park next to Hooters. It’s outside, has beer and a BBQ.”

- Award-w inning PR know-it-all

“Make Konami your last appointment of the day: it has its own pub.”

- Legendary games writer

“Get to the Convention Center early and you can get in, but only if you’re an exhibitor. If you’re friendly and very discrete, you can sweet talk the staff to allow you a sneaky go on the new games before any lines start.”

- TV presenter turned PR turned rock god

“Don’t push to the front of the first party gala presentations. Keep to the back so you can leave as soon as it’s over and get to the front of the car valet queue.”

“Stop Moaning. You’re in LA.”

- Happy supermarket boss

“Take a meeting out in the open air at least once a day. It really is daytime outside the halls.”

- Games publishing legend

- Everyone’s favourite Italian PR

- Marketing smart-arse

PRESENTS

“Bring your ID with you: There are now random checks at E3 entrance to make sure you are the person that your pass claims to be.”

5 SECOND FACTS

The stats you need to know about this year’s Electronics Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles...

5,000

273

32

20 years

E3 exhibitors can bring this many consumers to the expo this year, 10 per cent of all visitors

The number of exhibitors set for the LA Convention Center next week

There are just over 30 working days between E3 and Gamescom

The E3 expo launched in 1995 and has run every year since

Xbox ONE Rock Candy Wired Controller - PDP Design and manufacture the Officially Licenced Microsoft Rock Candy Wired Controller for Xbox ONE

europesales@pdp.com

www.pdp.com 09

June 12th 2015


CHEAT SHEET

Halo 5 will be Xbox’s ‘biggest game launch’

Market Data With no new releases hitting stores, the market falls to just £7m £20m

£15m

£15.1m 419,370 units

£10m

£5m

Halo 5: Guardians will feature heavily at E3, says Xbox’s Kapoor

£9.7m 338,223 units

£7m 248,828 units

by Christopher Dring

Week Ending Week Ending Week Ending May 30th May 23rd June 6th

UK RETAIL TOP 10

1

THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT

2

Grand Theft Auto V

3

FIFA 15

4

Splatoon

5

Battlefield Hardline

6

Project CARS

7

Farming Simulator 15

8

Destiny

9

Minecraft: Xbox Edition

Microsoft

10

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Activision

BANDAI NAMCO Rockstar EA Nintendo EA Bandai Namco Koch Media Activision Blizzard

SPONSORED BY

PRE-ORDER TOP 10

1

FALLOUT 4 (PS4)

2

Batman Arkham Knight + Harley Quinn DLC (PS4) Warner Bros

3

Amiibo Smash Pikmin + Olimar (Wii U)

Nintendo

4

Fallout 4 (XO)

Bethesda

5

Amiibo Smash Bowser Jr (Wii U)

Nintendo

6

Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (PS4)

7

Amiibo Smash Dr Mario (Wii U)

8

Batman Arkham Knight + Harley Quinn DLC (XO)

9

Until Dawn – Extended Edition (PS4)

10

FIFA 16 (PS4)

June 12th 2015

XBOX says Halo 5: Guardians will be the biggest game it has ever launched. Product manager Kuran Kapoor made the assertion ahead of E3, which he says will boast ‘incredible new announcements’ for the IP. The Xbox One exclusive launches at a busy time for shooters in the games industry, releasing near to Rainbow Six: Siege, Call of Duty: Black Ops III and Star Wars: Battlefront. But Kapoor is bullish over its chances. “Halo 5 is arguably going to be the biggest game we have ever launched here at Xbox,” he said. “With over five months until release, we’ve already begun to give fans a taste

with the multiplayer beta, Halo: Nightfall teasing the backstory and, most recently, the #HuntTheTruth social campaign. “We have some amazing announcements to make at E3, and as we move into Q4 we will be delivering a blockbuster launch followed by an engaging sustain campaign. We are releasing in close proximity to some great games, but we couldn’t be more confident that Halo 5 will deliver upon expectations, both with our fans and retail partners.” Set for release on October 27th, Guardians has seen a run-up campaign over the last 12 months. This includes the Nightfall series, which acts as a prelude to the upcoming title.

BETHESDA

Sony Nintendo Warner Bros Sony EA

Rock Band 4 going ‘back to basics’ in the battle for retail shelf space MAD Catz has dismissed fears that there won’t be enough shelf space for Rock Band 4. The popular music title returns to retail at a busy time for peripheral-heavy products, which will see LEGO Dimensions, Guitar Hero, Skylanders and Disney Infinity all vying for attention. But the firm told MCV that it is being careful not to bombard the High Street with plastic add-ons – at least initially – and will only be releasing a couple of SKUs. “Retail space is an interesting challenge for us due to the footprint of the hardware,” European marketing manager Rachel Gordon told MCV. “We have been strategic in our offering at launch,

10

so we are not flooding the market with a whole range of products. “You can’t make the form factor any smaller. But what we have done is reduced the SKU count. We have two focus bundles, which are proven to be the most popular consumer choices: the band in a box and the guitar bundle. By not having things like the microphone stand, guitar straps and all the additional accessories, we’ve gone back to basics. “We are also working closely with our retail partners to maximise additional promotion and exposure outside of simple shelf space, including digital and preorder campaigns.”

www.mcvuk.com


CHEAT SHEET

THE EDITOR

GameStop: Metacritic to blame for game pre-order problems by Alex Calvin PRE-ORDERS are falling because gamers are paying extra attention to review scores, said GameStop international boss Mike Mauler. The retailer said that – much like in the UK – pre-orders have started to dip in America. But insisted that the number of consumers coming out day one remains healthy. “Pre-orders have declined a little bit here, but the percentage week one sales versus pre-orders has increased a lot,” Mauler explained. “Pre-orders might be lower but in the first week instead of selling

120 per cent of pre-orders, you’re selling 150 per cent of pre-orders. The demand is still there, but there’s been a shift in terms of pre-ordering the product. “There is more attention paid to the Metacritic score than in the past. Two or three years ago it wasn’t really a topic of conversation, but now the week before release it’s getting a lot of attention.” GameTrack data revealed to MCV in April that 3.4m UK gamers were either pre-ordering fewer games, or had stopped advance ordering altogether.

E3 MAY BE OVER FOR YOU

T

he words: ‘E3 isn’t as relevant as it used to be’ are invariably said by two sets of people: those with a vested interest in its decline and those justifying the fact that their boss isn’t sending them. Next week, the gaming world’s attention will be fixed on LA as six major games makers put on press conferences totaling over eight hours. Irrelevant, it is not. But like any show that has endured two decades, it has had to change. E3 was once a trade fair where products were discovered and deals were signed. It was a show for retailers first, then media and then consumers – who were not invited but eagerly followed the announcements. As fewer triple-A products were launched and the number of retailers dwindled, E3 switched its primary audience to the media. But what exactly is the ‘media’ in today’s world? The stories that MCV has overheard in the build-up to E3 have been telling. Take Xbox UK: for the first time, the firm isn’t flying any traditional media to the show and is instead focusing on YouTubers. In fact, it’s not even putting on the usual hotel shuttle buses for execs. Why else would you ditch this unless you knew the number of industry delegates had dipped? I’ve spoken to journalists who, instead of receiving invites to press events, have been sent live-streaming links. There will be press who fly 5,500 miles only to sit in a hotel and watch the conferences on their laptops.

Mauler says that while pre-orders may be down compared to past years, week one sales remain strong

Tesco prepares week-long E3 promotion FANS can pre-order two E3 blockbusters for £80 from Tesco. The offer is available for just the week of E3, Monday, June 15th to Friday, June 19th, and will be available via the Tesco website. The retailer says the deal will include the standard editions of ‘key software releases’ that will likely form a major part of the Los Angeles-based expo. Tesco isn’t the only retail outlet going big at E3 next week. GAME has launched a dedicated E3

www.mcvuk.com

website (e3.game.co.uk), which will include live-reporting and streams. The company is also offering £5 in Reward Points to those that preorder four or more games from June 14th. “There is a huge amount of buzz around the event, so we want to make sure that gamers don’t miss a single second of it and most importantly, can get their hands on the latest games straight away,” said GAME’s marketing and insight director Fred Prego.

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Like any show that has endured for two decades, E3 has had to change. Then there’s the access to the talent: or, rather, the lack of it. Two publishers have told MCV that they’re not doing schedules and that we should instead ‘swing by the booth’. But travelling to E3 is expensive and time consuming, and rocking up to a crammed booth on the off-chance that you might see someone is not worth the trip. Couple this with the news that 5,000 consumers will be attending E3 this year, and you can see that the gamer has become the priority. But is it really a surprise? They are the ones now funding games, helping with development and setting up YouTube channels more popular than any specialist site. E3 has no need for the middle-man, it seems. Retailers and media are there, but this is a show about the gamers. Take Nintendo: fans will get much more out of the platform holder’s own ‘Treehouse’ online show than they will from any specialist outlet. Or Ubisoft: gamers can pop into London next week and play the new Assassin’s Creed before journalists even put pen to paper. Let’s cut the pretence, E3 is no longer the best business-tobusiness expo in games. Maybe it’s the best one for consumers. cdring@nbmedia.com

June 12th 2015


MARKETING

BRAND PROFILE MOTOGP PQube’s marketing boss Geraint Evans on the racing series WHILE many view MotoGP as F1’s poor relation, the truth is that MotoGP is a phenomenon that continues to grow and grow. This is due in no small part to the fact that the sport itself is less a procession of cars and more of a butt-clenching thrill-ride with an ever-present sense of danger. It’s the kind of exhilarating motorsport that has seen viewing figures continually rise over its 65-year history, now

rebirth thanks to the power of new-gen consoles. Previously only available on PS4, MotoGP 15 will now be available on both PS4 and Xbox One. Milestone has wasted no time improving on last year’s iteration with vastly better physics and handling. These benefit from the studio’s recent experience with the best-selling bike racer, Ride, not to mention Milestone’s unparalleled access to every major bike manufacturer on the planet. Fans of the series will also find that this year’s offering has significantly more in the way of content – containing riders and

being broadcast into almost 300 million homes worldwide. Some might have bemoaned the 2014 season for being dominated by Marquez – with no one mounting a suitable challenge to one of MotoGP’s greatest riders. Things are very different this year, however, with legend and long-time fan favourite Valentino Rossi coming off the grid and looking to make a serious impact. The MotoGP games, now under Milestone’s wing (a studio with more bike simulation experience than any other studio worldwide) are undergoing something of a

bikes from MotoGP’s 14 and 15 seasons, as well as the addition of four-stroke bikes and riding legends. Players will now be able to relive last year’s greatest moments, attempt to re-write history or, in the boots of a resurgent Rossi, attempt to take Marquez’s title. The main draw this year has to be the exceptional career mode, where players can effectively build their own racing team and rider from scratch. It’s a ludicrously in-depth experience that offers hundreds of hours of gameplay – before they’ve even touched upon the fullyfeatured online modes.

E3 – A SHOW LIKE NO OTHER This week, GameTime examines the effect the biggest show in games has on TV advertising

700 600

575 436

445

Individual TVRs

500

337

400

265

300 200 100 0

2010

E3 is officially upon us, providing games publishers a huge opportunity to advertise their forthcoming Autumn and Winter titles – and beyond. Traditionally, however, this is not a time of great activity for games and consoles TV advertising in the UK.

2011

2012

2013

viewer ratings (TVRs), which was a year-on-year increase. This was in no doubt due to the dominance of mobile titles, such as Game of War and Clash of Clans, which are not dependent on E3 but have shown a maintained level of activity over recent years.

Looking at the previous five years, we can assess the total TV activity in the market across the week incorporating E3. As expected, there have been relatively few major campaigns during the period. 2014 saw the strongest year of support, with 575 individual TV

2014

In terms of boxed games, Nintendo has continually supported its new releases during the week of E3, looking to benefit from the huge PR opportunity that E3 offers, in addition to consistent TV support to drive potential success at the tills.

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

June 12th 2015

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www.mcvuk.com


INTERVIEW MIKE MAULER, GAMESTOP

GameStop’s $500m merchandise dream GameStop has splashed $140m on ThinkGeek to transform its merchandise business. Alex Calvin catches up with EVP and president of GameStop International, Mike Mauler, to discuss the retailer’s bid to become the king of geek toys

W

hen GameStop revealed its latest financial results, the firm told its investors it had a new dream: it wants to turn its fledgling merchandise operation (expected to be worth up to $200m this year) into a $500m business by 2018. Some of its investors were perplexed by this target. There was no question that merchandise is a fast-growing segment of the games market, but how did it hope to almost triple its business in just three years? Well, within days of that statement, any lingering questions were answered when GameStop offered $140m (£92m) to acquire US geek merchandise behemoth ThinkGeek (owned by GeekNet). “Merchandise is a great market for us,” president and EVP of GameStop International Mike Mauler tells MCV.

GameStop is currently testing its Zing Pop Culture brand in Australia

we’ll have an expanded range of products in every store worldwide. “We will continue to work with the publishers to expand our franchise marketing efforts around video gaming and new releases.”

“We started experimenting with merchandise a while ago – we sold Call of Duty games and had some mugs and t-shirts to sell as tieins. But the consumer enthusiasm and demand around the products was just tremendous. By August,

Consumer enthusiasm and demand around our merchandise products have been just tremendous.

DIGITAL IS NOT THE ENEMY GAMESTOP’S recent push into merchandise is part of the firm’s effort to counter-act the decline in physical games. But the business is doing particularly well in the digital space, too, argues GameStop’s international boss Mike Mauler. “We love digital – we are going to have in excess of $1bn in digital sales this year,” he says. “Our goal is to offer consumers the products however they want it, whether they want a physical game, used or new, or a digital download, our goal is to be able to offer that to consumers

June 12th 2015

through our omnichannels anyway they want to consume it. “ The retail behemoth owns its own digital channels, too, including browser games portal Kongregate, which Mauler says is starting to prove itself outside of the US. “It is doing well internationally,” he explains. “I can’t tell you the number of users that are international, but I know it’s in the double digits. It’s something around 40 per cent are consumers from outside of the United States.”

Mike Mauler, GameStop

14

GET ‘EM TO THE GEEK GameStop is not limiting itself to just games, of course. The firm is targeting all forms of geek culture, including products based around the upcoming Star Wars movie. “Originally, we were just selling game-related products, focused on the big franchises like Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and Pokémon,” Mauler says. “We’ve expanded that range to include movie releases and TV shows. Now it’s everything from Game of Thrones to Star Wars. The biggest launch of this year will probably be Star Wars, and you’ll see tonnes of merchandise based on that with the launch of the film at the end of the year. What our consumers have told us is that

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MIKE MAULER, GAMESTOP INTERVIEW

GameStop is going beyond games with its merchandise off ering

it’s not just about games in this category, they like to experience films, TV shows and so on in lots of different ways, and come to our stores and buy those products.” The ThinkGeek deal may be the headline grabber in GameStop’s merchandise plans, but it’s actually the latest in a series of projects at the firm. In Australia, Mauler and his team opened a string of physical shops called Zing Pop Culture, which stock exactly these sort of ‘geek’ items. And that outlet is now set to expand globally – it could even reach the UK. “We ended the quarter with six Zing stores,” Mauler says. “We are continuing to pilot more stores in that region, and also want to test that concept in a few other markets. I wouldn’t rule out any region at this time. But at the moment we are focusing on regions where we already have a physical presence.” BACK TO BLIGHTY Overall, GameStop’s presence in the UK remains limited. The firm closed the only two shops it had in the country in 2011, and now places all of its emphasis on its UK website. And there remains no plans to do more than that. “As you know our UK business is strictly omnichannel,” says Mauler. “So consumers go through our site to buy and trade-in games and from a brick and mortar perspective,

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you have GAME there in the UK. We don’t have any plans beyond that, except to continue to expand our omnichannel business.” As the games market goes increasingly digital, the chances of GameStop entering the UK fully diminish by the day. But the firm is always eyeing up its next move. And with ThinkGeek primarily a US-based website, there’s a big opportunity for Mauler to take that brand – and its expertise – into new markets. “Some analysts have noted that GameStop’s strong international capabilities would help Geeknet to expand its licensing capabilities outside the US,” admits Mauler. GameStop’s merchandise bid comes at a crucial time for games retail. A number of high profile delays to big blockbusters means there are genuine concerns over a lack of physical content for High Street retailers to sell. But Mauler, ever the optimist, is not concerned. “There have been some games delayed, such as The Division, Uncharted and Zelda, until next year. But at the same time there are lots of awesome games coming out,” he concludes. “We’re really positive about the coming year. The industry is really healthy and are looking forward to E3. We’re looking forward to lots of stuff coming out. “

‘DON’T ABANDON THE XBOX 360’

Some analysts have noted GameStop’s strong international capabilities would help GeekNet expand its licensing capabilities outside of the US. Mike Mauler, GameStop

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GAMESTOP international EVP and president Mike Mauler says that the industry has been too quick to abandon the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. “They have tremendous install bases, and – except for a few major titles like FIFA and Call of Duty – everything is about the new machines,” he says. “There are still a lot of consumers out there that still have the older generation platforms.” He continues: “Our used business is growing this year as there are fewer new titles for the old gen. If you have a PS3 or 360, you are prone to buying a lot of used games that you haven’t played before.”

June 12th 2015


JOHN CLARK, SEGA INTERVIEW

Console showstopper to PC powerhouse For the first time ever, Sega, one of E3’s founding fathers, is giving the LA expo a miss – but why? Alex Calvin speaks to SVP of commercial publishing, John Clark, about the LA trade show, the PC games market and the difficulties of launching new IP

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ack in 1995, a handful of gaming giants united to create the global trade show E3. At the heart of its creation was Sega, which had run a number of events in the years prior. So it was very much the end of an era when Sega announced it wouldn’t have its own booth at E3 this year. “You go to E3 to show products,” explains Sega Europe’s SVP of commercial publishing. John Clark. “Some people have been saying: ‘it’s a shame that Sega isn’t showing anything at E3, but I went to the stand last year and there was nothing to look at’. “We don’t have a huge array of games coming out that are relevant to E3 this year. We have made the brave decision, and certain press may pick up on that. We’re focusing on our content roadmap, and it’s strong going forward. It’s just not aligned to E3 this year.” PC FOCUS E3 has been heavily linked to the console world. Sega’s heritage is in consoles, of course, but in recent years this has switched to PC, with the likes of Total War, Alien, Company and Heroes and Football Manager. The latter of which is approaching 10m sales on PC. “We have always viewed PC as a core part of our business,” Clark says. “For us, the PC market is about franchise, and franchise development. So to have four really strong PC IP is incredible. We have enjoyed working hard with the studios to benefit from the growth of Steam, as well as

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includes the ability for people to pay with cash, earn loyalty points, and trade-in games. These are unique points that only the High Street can offer. So it’s important we keep talking to and working with retail.”

the growing number of consumers who are buying PCs. “The market has grown, but it’s not a market we can lay figures on. If you had to look across the share of a multi-format game, like Alien Isolation, you’d be really surprised with the size of the PC contribution. In the same breath we can talk about PC with PS4 and Xbox One.” Of course, PC is a heavily digital market. But unlike other PC specialists, Sega still values physical retail. “Our role within the games ecosystem is making sure consumers can access content wherever they want to, however they want to,” Clark insists. “Physical retail plays an important role in that. “Retail has made a point of saying that physical PC is still relevant, and retail is still relevant in the PC market. As long as retail is supporting PC, we’ll be supporting retail. “There are certainly unique selling points to the High Street channel that you don’t get online. This

New IP is a challenge for everyone. People are playing games for longer, so it’s harder to get attention. John Clark, Sega

Sports Interactive’s Football Manager is approaching 10 million sales on PC

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NEW IDEAS Sega is rightly proud of the strong sales in its Alien, Total War and Football Manager franchises. But what about some new concepts? “New IP has been a challenge for everybody for the last ten years,” Clark explains. “The success that people have had is from franchises that have been built up over time that require a lot of investment. And Sega is no different. “We’ll dip our toe in the water and look at new IP, like [Game Freak’s upcoming title] Tembo The Badass Elephant. But we are looking to broaden our offering as well, whether that’s through Sega creating its own idea, or looking at what projects are being created externally with other studios. We are actively looking at new studios and projects. If the opportunity is there we’ll certainly support it.” He continues: “Launching new IP is hard. Consumers are buying games and spending more time with them, so it’s difficult to break in with a new IP. It’s been a long time since it’s been easy to launch a new game. People aren’t buying two new titles and moving on, they’re buying a game and playing it for a year, playing multiplayer, and purchasing extra content. “The length of the gameplay has been extended. There isn’t the same scale of purchase opportunities that there were five years ago.”

June 12th 2015


INSIGHT

INSIGHT

The new age of advertising In the paid and earned media spaces, in particular, barely a week goes by without a new theory about the best practice for search, programmatic, biddable and so on, plus which key performance indicators (KPIs) are meaningful and which are not. It’s a maelstrom of marketing theorems.

505 Games’ SVP of global brand TIM WOODLEY, a former marketing boss at Activision and Codemasters, shares his experiences with the rapidly changing landscape for video games promotion

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t would be a brave person to argue that the rate of change in our industry is pedestrian. What is perhaps often overlooked, however, is the rate of change in the marketing paradigm. Even the word ‘paradigm’, with its connotations of longestablished principles and slowly evolving trends, doesn’t really apply in today’s marketing world. The pace of change in marketing and communications is as fast as it is in all other aspects of our industry – arguably the fastest – and it is accelerating. It takes a concerted effort and focus to keep up with best practices. Of course, the era of outbound marketing display advertising is over 100 years old, pre-dating even the famed Mad Men of the 1950s. In the early-to-mid noughties, outbound marketing moved into the digital space, but it was still very disruptive and display-orientated in nature, and, for about 20 years, quite dependable. Even the move to inbound marketing and the social media paradigm (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on) of the last five to ten years now seems like a reassuringly constant landscape for the modern marketer to ply his or her trade, relative to the here-and-now that is. So much so that I’ve come to dismiss any marketing hypothesis or white paper that is anything more than six to 12 months old.

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SPOTTING THE TRENDS As is by now well-documented, the overarching trend is towards inbound marketing and content delivery where the consumer self-selects to engage with brands, products and services rather than brands interrupting through outbound messaging. It is the world of search, of social, of sharing. But within this sub-segment the ‘rules of engagement’ are still be debated, as concepts and theories are stress-tested in real-world case studies. The skill is in recognising the longer-lasting trends – the ones that are not just flashes in the marcomms pan, but those that will have staying power: those that have a proven Darwinian

We live in an age of analytics where ‘marketing technology’ is rising up as the one trend to rule them all. Tim Woodley, 505 Games

Outbound advertising such as this is becoming less popular with marketers

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resilience through robust, reliable and repeatable KPIs. In amongst this confusion is the reassuring truth that the consumer is still at the centre of everything. Outbound display advertising died out largely because it is, by its very nature, more product-focused than consumer-focused. Inbound marketing is currently the ‘fittest’ in the Darwinian analogy because it forces us to return the consumer to the centre of all we do. Additionally, we have spent an inordinate amount of time in bygone eras focusing on acquisition marketing, obsessing over the number of new users we’re reaching. Now, it’s about engagement and lifetime value of existing users. We acquire to retain. We retain to monetise. Free-to-play, subscription MMOs and the macro-trend towards games as services has brought terms like ‘retention’, ‘churn’ and ‘monthly active users’ to the front of mind in our world, but such terminology is permeating the entire marketing lexicon – regardless of sector. The irony is that ‘retention’ has much more to with content management through owned media – websites, social channels and so on – than it does ‘paid’ or ‘earned’ media, which is broadly the domain of customer acquisition. Fortunately we live in an age of analytics where ‘marketing technology’ is rising up as the one trend to rule them all. Content management systems, CRM and analytics can not only tell us everything we need to know about consumer make-up and behaviours, but can also give us real-time answers to the questions being posed by the marketing theorists and help us validate or otherwise.

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FIXING FREE-TO-PLAY

Everybody hates free-to-play Or do they? One of the most popular ways of paying for games is under constant scrutiny from the media and core consumers. So what can be done about free-to-play’s negative image? Christopher Dring asks the experts

“T

he successful freemium game is based on five principles,” says Canada’s minister of mobile gaming. “Entice the player with a simple game loop. Use lots of flashing ch-chings and compliments to make the player feel good about themselves. Train the players to spend your fake currency. Offer them a way to spend real currency for your fake currency – so they will forget they are spending money. And make the game about waiting, but let the player pay not to wait. It is a surefire way to make lots of money.” “We understand micropaying,” replies the comedian Phillip. “But can’t the game hidden inside the charade at least be fun?” “No, it has to be just barely fun,” answers the minister. “If the game was too fun there would be no need to micropay in order to make it more fun.” This is an exchange from the South Park episode ‘Freemium Isn’t Free,’ which aired last November. It was the latest in a string of attacks on free-to-play, where developers have been accused of utilising underhand tactics to extort money from unsuspecting players. In fact, even some of these developers have their issues with the business model. “Certain elements of free-toplay games are comparable with casinos,” says Playrise Digital’s Nick Burcombe, who created free-toplay mobile game Table Top Racing. “Firstly, get them through the door for free. In casinos, they want you to forget about the realities, so there’s free booze and attractive people serving drinks, which always loosens up the wallet. Then they establish an understanding

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Free-to-play has seen flak from both within the industry and outside – even coming under fire in South Park

of the ‘in-game economy’, push players towards a purchase, figure out who the big spenders are and then put the ‘menu of value’ on the table. In casinos, this is the ‘comps’ system: free drinks, food, rooms, show tickets, helicopter rides, whatever you desire, as long as you keep spending – the more you spend the more they will comp you. “It’s the same for games, and the reason people feel it’s unfair is that you instinctively get a sense that this model is just there to exploit you.” He adds: “Effectively you’re being ‘gamed’, and getting money out of you is a metrics-driven science.” ‘‘-MIUM’ IS LATIN FOR ‘NOT REALLY’ Of course, free-to-play was not born as a cynical ploy to pick pockets. “It is a response to the changes wrought by digital: ridiculously cheap file distribution, unlimited shelf space, fewer gatekeepers and virtually unlimited consumer choice,” says Nicholas Lovell, analyst and free-to-play consultant. “All of this led to a situation where free was inevitable, driven not by piracy but by competition for the most valuable

Above: Lee (top) and Susan (bottom) Cummings say that freeto-play should entice players by establishing real value

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thing in a digital economy: consumer attention. “F2P also introduced a whole new audience to games. Players who don’t get Dark Souls, or even Hearthstone, but for whom Candy Crush Saga, or Kim Kardashian: Hollywood are absorbing, entertaining pastimes. “There have been negatives. The first rush of ‘my kid spent £1,000 on virtual currency’ has passed as parental controls and understanding improve. There will always be these stories, because they make good headlines, but anyone who thinks that F2P is ripping off children who don’t understand what they are doing is deluded and in for a big disappointment when the model doesn’t disappear.” Indeed, consumers have voted, and they want free games. “They overwhelmingly want free-to-play,” says Lee Cummings, creative director of free mobile game Doctor Who Legacy. “Publishers know that if they charge a price – any price – the installs will drop dramatically. This has created a very difficult paradox, because consumers have become accustomed to free games – yet, of course, they aren’t free to make.” ‘IT HAS TO BE JUST BARELY FUN’ For all the criticisms, free-to-play is popular, and the model has its benefits; independent developers can now make huge amounts of money without the need for a big publisher, while consumers can essentially try before they buy. But what about the accusations that have been levelled by South Park and the ilk? That too many

June 12th 2015


FIXING FREE-TO-PLAY

Game of War’s adverts starring Kate Upton reinforce the negative perception of free-toplay, says Lovell

free-to-play games are just ‘barely fun’ and utilise cynical tricks to persuade players to spend? “If you forget to delight your players and rely on a playbook of monetisation techniques, eventually they’ll get bored and play the games of someone who doesn’t treat them as numbers in a vast, metrics-driven database,” says Lovell. “There are many things that still disappoint me about freeto-play games. The Kate Upton adverts for Game of War are an embarrassment to our industry. I’m saddened by how little distance we have come in our marketing techniques or our portrayal of women. “I am also saddened by the number of triple-A developers who shove timers, energy gates and aggressive monetisation into well-loved franchises with little understanding of the fundamental principles of good F2P design. “The lack of understanding, love and respect for the players shows through and means these games are unlikely to work.” FIXING FREE So what can be done to turn around free-to-play’s perception problem?

June 12th 2015

Playrise’s Burcombe (below) and analyst Lovell (bottom)

“I’d like to see a change in mobile where if you put more money in, you get more fun out,” answers Burcombe. “So you’re not constantly being asked to spend small amounts on short-term power-ups, or worse still, spending money that reduces your waiting time... that’s where I have a moral issue with some of the free-toplay mechanics. “I’m keenly aware that the public vote with their wallets and, regardless of my wishes, the prevalent model will win out. If people are happy to spend 69p for a virtual doughnut that doesn’t get them anywhere – then who am I to argue?” Susan Cummings, executive producer on Doctor Who Legacy, agrees: “As an industry, we need to stop making consumers feel that they’re being duped - start offering real value so that they don’t feel bad about spending money. Yes, there is clearly a lot of money to be made in pay walls and tricks – but morally, is this really what we want our industry to become?” She continues: “Perhaps gamers need to become re-accustomed to the fact that games cost

If people want to buy a virtual doughnut for 69p, who am I to argue? Nick Burcombe, Playrise Digital

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money to make. Most free games have fewer than five per cent of players spending. That is the reason for so much focus on tuning monetisation.” This is the conflict at the heart of free-to-play. These games cannot be free. Developers need to be paid. And if the monetisation is too generous, no one will spend – if it’s too aggressive, it spoils the experience. It’s a tough balancing act to pull off. Some have got it right (take Blizzard’s Hearthstone or Valve’s Dota 2 as ideal examples of the model), but these are offset by the high-profile failures. The hope is that developers can learn from these errors, so that the controversial business model can shrug off its PR problems and live up to the potential its advocates insist it has. “I am extremely optimistic,” concludes Lovell. “We’re reaching more players than ever. The new business model has enabled many more studios to exist. We are learning to let those who love what we do to spend lots of money on things they really value. We are in an explosion of new studios making new content. Long may it continue.”

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INTERVIEW BANDAI NAMCO

Bandai on the run Bandai Namco made history in May, becoming the UK’s biggest publisher for the first time since its inception. PR and marketing director Lee Kirton tells Matthew Jarvis how the firm plans to stay on top

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t seems that Pac-Man is celebrating his birthday in style. 2015 marks the 35th anniversary of Bandai Namco’s spherical superstar, and the publisher has kicked off the year by rocketing to the top of the UK charts. Nearly a quarter of all boxed games sold in May were Bandai Namco titles, according to GfK Chart-Track, with the firm scooping a massive 36.6 per cent of software market revenue during the period. This was thanks to two hit games in particular – The Witcher 3 and Project CARS – which were received feverishly by critics and consumers alike. Launched on May 8th, Project CARS made records by becoming the first four-wheeled racing sim to top the charts since Codemasters’ GRID 2 in 2013. It also showed the gold-paved road ahead for Bandai Namco after the game claimed a second weekly number one, becoming the publisher’s first consecutive chart-topper since Ridge Racer 4 16 years earlier. Three weeks later, it’s now sold more than one million units worldwide. Project CARS’ success was soon proved to be far from a fluke, as it was replaced at the top of the charts by Bandai Namco’s next title, The Witcher 3, launched on May 19th. The epic RPG’s sellthrough rate smashed that of the other big 2015 hit Battlefield Hardline by 53 per cent, making it the biggest launch of the year so far. These are indicators of the year ahead for Bandai Namco, says PR and marketing director Lee Kirton. “We have seen some incredible success with Project CARS, The

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wanting to deliver an unfinished title,” he explains. “Of course, games will always have updates and patches. However, this should be taken as a positive approach to supporting games after launch and continuing to make them better and add content.”

Dragon Ball Xenoverse has shipped more than 1.5m units

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Dragon Ball Xenoverse, and have F1 2015 just around the corner,” he observes. “Alongside these, we have some very important franchises including One Piece, J-Stars, Project X Zone 2, Naruto, Godzilla, Saint Seiya and Tales of Zesteria, plus a great family range to be announced.”

Project CARS was built for the future, a lot like Bungie’s Destiny. Lee Kirton, Bandai Namco

WORTH THE WAIT Neither The Witcher 3 nor Project CARS were originally slated for release this year. Both were initially announced with 2014 launch dates, before experiencing multiple pushbacks to eventually land in May. Kirton states determinedly that the delays were necessary in order to ensure the games’ quality upon release – a tactic that certainly seems to have paid dividends. “The time taken in constructing something great needs to be taken into consideration and we obviously witnessed some slippage purely down to not

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FAN SERVICE Being open with players has been a focus for both The Witcher 3 and Project CARS. CD Projekt Red responded to accusations of a graphical downgrade in The Witcher 3 shortly after launch, allaying fans’ worries and outlining upcoming patches and fixes to the title. Project CARS, meanwhile, was originally crowdfunded by backers on Kickstarter before being picked up by Bandai Namco, meaning players could follow the title’s creation and offer input early on. “Rather than developing a game and just releasing it as a studio would, the involvement of fans from day one was incredibly important in development and communication,” recalls Kirton. “We’ve been saying in our communication that Project CARS was built for the future, a lot like Bungie’s Destiny. Seeing the involvement of passionate fans interacting with the studio and us has been inspiring. It’s been a major effort. It was a unique fit and something we could focus on as an important title for all of us. “All games should be developed with fans from the get-go. It shows in the delivery of what gamers want. We are very proud of the title and it’s only just the start.”

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BANDAI NAMCO INTERVIEW

PIXELS POWER

BANDAI Namco’s iconic mascot Pac-Man is set to make his big screen appearance this summer, starring in the upcoming video game-based comedy Pixels alongside Adam Sandler, Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage and Frozen’s Josh Gad. Lee Kirton, PR and marketing director at Bandai Namco Entertainment UK, talks about what the publisher has in store around the cinematic release. “We recently announced Pac-Man’s 35th anniversary and he is featured in the trailers for Pixels from Sony Pictures. We have been doing a lot with Pac-Man over the last few years and have an incredible new game coming out for mobile called Pac-Man 256, created in

The Witcher 3 is the biggest game launch of 2015 to date

HEADED WEST Project CARS is a creation of British developer Slightly Mad Studios, while The Witcher harks from Polish outlet CD Projekt Red. But much of Bandai Namco’s legacy still lies in its Japanese roots. “We have been developing and working on successful Japanese licences from the very beginning,” Kirton details. “These are hugely successful in the Asian market and we have been bringing them to the West. We made a promise to fans years ago that we would deliver these titles in Europe. “We put the effort in with localisation and exclusive collector editions and collectible goods to offer something truly unique. We have structured teams that focus

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sales on some IPs and good sales on others. We are aware of our popular franchises and manage titles effectively to deliver them all in a box on the shelf or through digital distribution. This is something that will continue to benefit us in a big way, as gamers have a continuous choice to buy a special collector edition or just download the game. “We wanted to make all of our IPs available for everyone and we have done this. This is only going to get stronger through our overall ‘entertainment focus’ as a company, with different ways to provide anime content that fans want to see.”

on our different titles and IP and offer something completely unique across a broad range of audiences, and this is something we excel in.” Bandai Namco’s latest Japanese title to succeed in the West is Dragon Ball Xenoverse. The game debuted in third place in GfK ChartTrack’s weekly rankings, topped the global Steam charts and has now shipped over 1.5 million units. “Interest in Japanese titles has evolved over the years and is something that is stronger in some territories than others,” continues Kirton. “Some regions grow up with anime and some do not – however, there is a substantial fan base across the whole of Europe. “We have an incredibly strong fan base in the UK and see fantastic

WHAT LIES AHEAD 2015 has already laid the foundations for a stellar year for Bandai Namco.

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partnership with Hipster Whale, the makers of Crossy Road. “We have always been developing strong titles on mobile and have recently seen incredible success with the likes of Pac-Man and Tekken Card Tournament. We have specific teams and good relationships in place to develop great titles based on our IPs, as well as to bring original IP to this huge market. “We have a number of other activities happening; Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is still performing well on Disney XD in the UK and Netflix, plus there are new games coming, as well as licensed goods. We also have stunts and campaigns in place.”

Kirton reveals how the company is preparing to keep up the pace going forwards. “We have strengthened our teams internally, which are made up of passionate people who treat every title as if it was developed internally,” he explains. “We have strengthened our operations globally and we still provide the biggest territorial network with strong marketing, PR, publishing and distribution. “We will continue to focus on our titles, our strong IP, our third party relationships, supporting our titles long term and our new role in not just gaming but overall entertainment. “We have a clear vision as a company and we also have passionate goals in what we want to achieve and we are aiming high.”

June 12th 2015


XXX XXX ZELNICK ON THE INDUSTRY STRAUSS

The world according to Strauss Zelnick The Take-Two CEO and ESA chairman discusses the latest challenges and developments impacting the global games market

...ON GAME BUGS AND BROKEN TITLES “Great games take time and we’re committed to delivering the highest quality entertainment experiences in our industry, which translate into stronger revenues. Sometimes, that can take longer than expected, but we believe that delaying a release to make it the best it can be is ultimately in the best

interests of our business. Despite our aim, we’re not always perfect. I do think that we’ve gotten a lot better; however, we don’t take delays lightly. We prefer to take more time, get it right and enjoy success in the market by creating durable brands that delight consumers for many years to follow.”

...ON THE FUTURE OF CONSOLE KIDS GAMES “The decline in the number of kids games was due in part to the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, that support freeto-play games that tend to be far more casual experiences. This console cycle is still somewhat new and largely comprised of early adopters who are older core gamers today, the average player is 35. We aim to entertain the largest audience possible and

...ON WHERE GAMES RETAIL IS HEADED “The percentage of sales through digital distribution is increasing and will continue to grow as consumer preference moves in that direction and the new-gen consoles and other technologies enable faster and more efficient download of titles. Many retailers have taken important steps to embrace digital distribution and are

capitalising on that paradigm shift. While I don’t envision a complete change to digital distribution in the near-term, I do think that retailers will be far better prepared to grow with our industry during this phase than they were during the comparable periods in the evolution of the music and book publishing industries.”

...ON THE DECLINE IN TRIPLE-A GAMES “Our industry has experienced some consolidation over the past few years; however, for the time being, it seems to be at the right size. Having fewer titles, albeit of higher quality, is a good thing for our

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industry and retail partners. Consumers are understandably discerning with their dollars and companies that selectively release titles have a greater opportunity to reach audiences and build long-term franchises.”

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that currently skews older on new-gen. The new consoles absolutely have an opportunity to attract a younger audience and it remains to be seen what types of experiences will grow in that segment. Historically, the majority of titles for young gamers were based on film or TV properties and that proved to be quite costly for some publishers – in some instances, fatal.”

...ON VR

...ON PATENTS

“Our teams continually evaluate all new forms of technology to see how they can best be leveraged. We will not be the first ones over the wall with content for VR. Our approach is to be highly mindful of the market opportunity and invest accordingly. It’s not about these technologies and what they do – it’s about how the consumer chooses to embrace them. We’re in business for consumers, so we’ll be there if VR becomes a meaningful way to deepen engagement with our properties.”

“Patent reform is a current challenge for our industry. We have a proven track record of delivering innovative, leading-edge products and services that engage and entertain consumers across a variety of platforms. Disturbingly, however, costly lawsuits brought to extort unjust settlements from companies in our business undercut their ability to invest fully in innovation. There is a significant need for stricter reform, including financial penalties, to help thwart meritless patent suits.”

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b: ww.venomuk.com

SERIOUS ABOUT

GAMING SERIOUS ABOUT

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Venom UK Gaming


MARKET MOVES

APPOINTMENTS

Distribution vet Jon Atherton joins Exertis Former Entatech boss moves to firm OLegends of Gaming team bolstered ONew staff writer for OXM EXERTIS | Distribution veteran JON ATHERTON has joined Exertis. He moves to the company as commercial development director and will be based at the firm’s office in Basingstoke. Atherton arrives with 20 years of distribution experience; he was previously director and vice president at technology distributor Entatech. “Exertis is shaping distribution in line with the changes we’re seeing throughout the IT industry to better reflect the needs of its reseller partners,” Atherton said. “I am excited about this move because it will bring fresh and exciting challenges.”

GAME where he was an event strategist. Hunt joined the retailer in 2006 as a store manager, rising to district development manager before being promoted to local marketing manager in 2012. “I’m really excited to be joining Upper Street on the other side of the events business,” he said. “With the event being a new and unique proposition, I am looking forward to working with it as it evolves.” Meanwhile, STEFANIE GRIME has been promoted to marketing manager. Grime has worked as a senior marketing executive at Upper Street on its Gadget Show Live brand since 2012. “I am really excited to be working on an event that centres

Exertis B2B director PHIL BROWN added: “Jon brings a wealth of experience to his role at Exertis at a time when the company’s momentum and appetite for growth shows no sign of slowing down. I am confident that with his skills, knowledge and contacts, Jon will help Exertis make serious in-roads into the new opportunities in the channel.” UPPER STREET EVENTS | The company behind Legends of Gaming has bolstered its sales and marketing team. LEE HUNT joins as senior sales executive from

on the new phenomenon of YouTube celebrities,” Grime said. “It’s something totally new in the industry and will enable us to use some really current marketing techniques and ideas to speak to our audience.” FUTURE | The media firm has hired a new journalist for Official Xbox Magazine. TOM STONE comes on board as staff writer. “We are excited to welcome Tom to Team OXM,” deputy editor ALEX DALE said. “Tom has a fresh, engaging and versatile writing voice that makes him perfectly suited to the unique challenges of this role.”

AROUND THE INDUSTRY POKÉMON | A new attraction that lets kids create animated movies based on the hit games brand is coming to London. The Pokémon Animation Studio will be part of KidZania, a 75,000 square foot ‘childsized city’. It will open in Westfield on June 25th. GAMESTOP | The global retail giant has purchased Think Geek parent firm GeekNet. GameStop acquired all of the firm’s $20 per share common stock. GeekNet was valued at $140m in the deal, with GameStop believing the acquisition will boost its annual net sales by more than $100m and operating earnings by 20 per cent. “This acquisition creates value for all stakeholders involved,” GameStop CEO Paul Raines said. “The addition of GeekNet is an important

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expansion of our global multichannel platform and we are excited to leverage their product development expertise to broaden our product offering in the fast-growing collectibles category and deepen relationships with our existing customer base.” GeekNet CEO Kathryn McCarthy added: “As a part of GameStop’s family of brands, Geeknet will be wellpositioned to achieve our goals of increasing our brand awareness and expanding our product offerings.” SOFTBANK | The Japanese telecoms giant has increased its stake in Finnish mobile games firm Supercell. Softbank has upped its stake by 22.7 per cent to 73.2 per cent. The firm purchased a 51 per cent stake in Supercell in October 2013, paying $1.5bn.

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EDITORIAL CONTACTS

EDITORIAL CONTACTS Christopher Dring Editor

Michael French Publisher

cdring@nbmedia.com

mfrench@nbmedia.com

Ben Parfitt Associate Editor

Conor Tallon Account Manager

bparfitt@nbmedia.com

ctallon@nbmedia.com

Alex Calvin Staff Writer

Sam Richwood Designer

acalvin@nbmedia.com

srichwood@nbmedia.com

Matt Jarvis Staff Writer

Laura West Business Development Consultant

mjarvis@nbmedia.com

lwest@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

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.

Please address all enquiries to: Newbay Media, MCV, Saxon House, 6a St. Andrew Street, Hertford, SG14 1JA. Printed By: Pensord, Tram Road, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood, NP12 2YA

ISSN: 1469-4832 Copyright 2015

MCV has an exclusive media partnership with Famitsu – Japan’s leading video games analyst and news source

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

Jennifer Johnson Shop Direct

Don McCabe CHIPS

Jon Hayes Tesco

Sarah Jasper The Hut

Gurdeep Hunjan Simon Urquhart Sainsbury’s Microsoft

Phil Moore Grainger Games

Robert Lindsay Games Centre

Igor Cipolletta ShopTo

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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June 12th 2015


05.-09.08.2015, Cologne Secure your tickets now! gamescom-cologne.com


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INDIE INTERVIEW STEVE STOPPS Sponsored by

Team Lumo’s mobile journey Formed from the ashes of Leamington Spa-based work-for-hire studio Blitz Games, Team Lumo is now working on its own IP. Alex Calvin speaks to director Steve Stopps

S

teve Stopps was bored. The project director and his team were between games at the work-for-hire developer Blitz Games Studio. So Stopps and a rag-tag group of developers decided to try their hand at making the firm’s first mobile game. “We were asked to make a little mobile test project. But rather than making that, we decided to make the best mobile game we could in eight weeks,” Stopps says. “That turned out to be Kumo Lumo. Our directors weren’t keen on it, but they were going out to GDC, showed it to Chillingo who loved it. It published it, the game went on to be the App Store’s Editor’s Choice in 60-odd countries and won MacWorld Game of the Year.” So, its first title was a success, as was its second, Paper Titans. But shortly after, Blitz went under, and Stopps and the core team – internally referred to as Team Lumo – left to set up their own venture, under that name. “We decided to come up with another game concept, take it out to investors and see about getting some funding,” Stopps says. “That ended up being Lumo Deliveries, which we launched last October. That was our first project as a team outside of Blitz.” MOBILE RISKS Since going indie, the team has stuck to its mobile guns. “For us, we just like the experiences of mobile games,” Stopps explains. “They suit what we like developing. We quite enjoy working on whimsical games. That comes from the desire to make visually-interesting and beautiful

June 12th 2015

Lumo’s Cat is Team Lumo’s fourth game and its third free-toplay title

games that use bright vibrant colours. Mobile seems to embrace that kind of stuff much more willingly than console does. A lot of the audience is quite fresh and new, they don’t come with a lot of the baggage of more traditional-style games. They have embraced new styles of game play. “And as you get older, the amount of time you have to sit in front of a console and invest hours and hours in games diminishes. We tend to find we’re playing in shorter sessions, so we started gaming on mobile. Therefore, they end up being the kind of games we make.” And now the firm is set on working on its own IP, and is no longer interested in doing projects for anyone else. “We don’t do work-for-hire anymore,” Stopps insists. “In fact, I’ve turned down a lot of those projects. We only want to work on our own IP. It’s what we do. It’s a very different experience. I loved being at a work-for-hire studio, you’re working on really tight margins and on projects where the profit

A lot of the mobile games audience are new. They don’t come with the baggage of more traditional titles. Steve Stopps, Team Lumo

32

margins can disappear overnight if you make one mistake. “It’s an amazing way of sharpening up your production skills and the teams who are creating really good, fun games – often in tight time scales – do amazing work. That usually goes unrecognised. But what we enjoy doing and the thing that gets us up in the morning is working on our own games.” In addition to going indie, Stopps is also publishing games under his Kumotion brand. “Blitz wanted to go back into work-for-hire projects. It didn’t want to do its own IP and that’s where my heart was, so I decided I was going to leave and try and work out how to do that,” Stopps says. “Meanwhile, Blitz gave permission to its employees that they could make their own games in their own time and then release them. The original prototype for Mike Bithell’s Thomas was Alone was developed at Blitz and was released while he was still there. When I left, some of my friends were working on Pocket Titans, and were struggling to get press coverage. So they turned to me to get the word out. That was the first game I published. “The process of telling people how to create a game and build an audience for a game is really tough. The fact I have been through the publishing process myself has helped a lot with my work at Team Lumo. I also help indies out with the production side of things, which often gets overlooked. Polishing games comes from good project management. “It’s not my main focus – but people ask for help sometimes, because it’s really hard work getting exposure for indie games.”

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6*'914.&o5$'565'..+0)$+-' 4#%+0)5'4+'5+5$#%-

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MARKETPLACE

SHELF LIFE MCV speaks to Steven Doyle of Game Dojo about the surprise success of Mortal Kombat X and the support the Lytham St Annes store has been receiving from Warner Bros ahead of the launch of Batman Arkham Knight How has business been? Steady. Not spectacular, but steady. There just hasn’t been anything huge coming out. We have a lot of stuff planned for the new Batman game. The Witcher 3 was successful, I suppose, but it’s been a slow type of year. What else has been selling well? Bloodborne did pretty well. That was a bit of a surprise. Mortal Kombat X did better than we thought, too. We’ve had to keep

PRE-ORDER CHARTS

one with Halo: The Master Chief Collection and another with Forza Horizon 2. But the PS4 has been doing much better. CentreSoft has been really good with packs. Exertis do packs, but they’re the standard Microsoft ones. CentreSoft seems to put loads of different packs together.

restocking Mortal Kombat. Project CARS is also seeing interest – sales have picked up since launch. But overall it’s just been a rather quiet time of the year. How has your hardware been selling? Consoles remain steady, thanks to the new price points. The Xbox One has been ticking over, and it’s just come down in price. The bundle deals from Exertis have been well-received – there was

What are you doing for Batman Arkham Knight? Warner Bros is giving us some money to promote it. We have

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TOP 10 PRE-ORDERS 1. ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE: TAMRIEL UNLIMITED + EXPLORER PACK Bethesda, PS4

TES: SKYRIM LEGENDARY EDITION

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3. Batman Arkham Knight Day 1 + Harley Quinn DLC Warner Bros ............................................................PS4 4. Batman Arkham Knight Day 1 + Harley Quinn DLC Warner Bros ...............................................................XO

7. Amiibo Bowser Jr Nintendo................................................................. Wii U 8. Until Dawn – Extended Edition Sony.............................................................................PS4 9. LEGO Jurassic World + DLC Warner Bros ......................................................... PS4 10. Yoshi’s Woolly World + Green Yarn Yoshi Amiibo Nintendo................................................................. Wii U

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THE SWAPPER

SOMA

FULLBLAST

Curve Digital’s philosophical platformer has finally hit Xbox One

The horror game from Amnesia studio Frictional Games is set for PS4 and PC

This shoot-em-up has made its console debut on Wii U

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June 12th 2015

Bethesda, 360

ONLINE

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FALLOUT 3: GOTY Bethesda, PS3

Bethesda, PC

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www.mcvuk.com


MARKETPLACE

Game Dojo 21 The Crescent, Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, FY8 1SZ

loads of POS from CentreSoft already, like big posters. But Warner Bros seems to be backing Sony a bit more, due to stuff like the exclusive content on PS4. Because of the budget we are attempting to change our store sign to be Batman-themed; we’re trying to see if Warner can do it for us. Do you want a similar level of support from other publishers going forwards?

Phone: 01253 789 922 Website: game-dojo.co.uk Facebook: /gamedojo Twitter: @GameDojoUK

Definitely. Normally we get stuff from Sony, because each time they have a big game out they send someone down to help out. CentreSoft will put us in for whatever offers they have going on. We were one of five shops that had a Bloodborne night run by them. There were five PS4 pods in our store courtesy of our PlayStation rep about a week before the game came out. Batman is the first time a third party has helped us out like this.

INCOMING TITLE

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

With The Elder Scrolls Online, LEGO Jurassic World and Batman Arkham Knight on the way in June, the summer of games is starting to heat up FORMAT

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TELEPHONE

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June 6th Mortal Kombat X

June 9th The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited

June 12th LEGO Jurassic World

June 15th Rory McIlroy PGA Tour

June 19th Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 Construction Machines Simulator 2016

PC

Simulation

Ravenscourt

01256 385 200

Koch Media

Tour de France 2015

PS4/XO/PS3

Sports

Deep Silver

01256 385 200

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June 23rd Batman: Arkham Knight

PS4/XO/PC

Action

Warner Bros

01216 253 388

CentreSoft

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

PS4/PC

MMO

Square Enix

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CentreSoft

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Funbox Media

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Yoshi’s Woolly World

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Nintendo

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PS4/XO/PC

Racing

Bandai Namco

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July 10th F1 2015

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June 12th 2015


CONSOLES

CONSOLES E3 is traditionally time for the consoles to shine, with a shower of new announcements. In celebration, Matthew Jarvis looks back at the history – and future – of the sector

IT’S often said that PC is the grandfather of the games industry, but the humble home console has a legacy that now stretches back over more than three decades. Since its inception, E3 has served as the year’s biggest celebration of consoles. While PC and mobile have a presence – increasingly, given the first-ever PC Gaming Show at the event this year – it’s PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo that rule the roost.

The PS4 is outpacing its predecessors’ sales, meaning it could be set to make home console history.

This is despite mobile beating back the sector in the wider market; research firm Newzoo estimates that 2015 will see console market share in the UK fall below 50 per cent for the first time in history, dropping to 48 per cent from 51 per cent last year. However, annual revenue for the consoles will actually increase by 1.1 per cent versus 2014. The best-selling console of all time remains the PlayStation 2. Launched in 2000, the machine

PLAYSTATION NEW SCHOOL MEN’S T-SHIRT Placing the distinctive design of the PS4’s DualShock 4 controller front and centre, this minimalist monochromatic shirt also displays the iconic Triangle, Square, Circle and Cross logos of the PlayStation control scheme, alongside the PlayStation logo. SRP: £17.99 Manufacturer: Sony Distributor: Sony Contact: gear.playstation.com

XBOX LOGO STICKER

PLAYSTATION METAL CONTROLLER BUCKLE

SEGA DREAMCAST BAG

Xbox fans can express their fondness for Microsoft’s consoles thanks to this sticker of the machine’s recognisable logo.

The PlayStation DualShock controller can do many things, including help keep trousers up, it seems.

It may’ve been short-lived at the time, but the legacy of Sega’s last console lives on. Players can show their admiration with this bag.

SRP: $1.25 (£0.82) Manufacturer: Microsoft Distributor: Microsoft Contact: customercare@ecompanystore.com

SRP: £13.99 Manufacturer: Bioworld Merchandising Distributor: Gaming Merchandise UK Contact: hello@gamingmerchandiseuk.com

SRP: £30 Manufacturer: Insert Coin Distributor: Insert Coin Contact: info@insertcoinclothing.com

June 12th 2015

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CONSOLES

Sponsored by

O

gaming merchandise uk

has shifted in excess of 155 million units, and is often cited as one of the greatest home consoles ever made. The original PlayStation is the second-best-selling home console, with over 102 million sold since 1994. However, Sony says the PS4 is already outpacing its predecessors. Away from PlayStation, Nintendo’s past hardware output maintains a high level of nostalgia among gamers. Iconic console and controller designs

such as the NES and SNES have lent themselves to swathes of merchandise. The Wii has also sold well over 100m units worldwide. Of course, Microsoft’s machines have a fervent fanbase, with the Xbox 360 proving the biggestselling console of the last generation in the UK. E3 is sure to reignite console fans’ passion for their chosen machine, making a healthy stock of console-branded products a must for any retailer.

NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM BACKPACK Nintendo’s first system, the 8-bit NES, helped to define not only the games industry of the 1980s, but everything that came afterwards. Fans can express their love and nostalgia for the console with this backpack, which blows up the NES’s famous rectangular control pad to provide plenty of storage space. SRP: £34.99 Manufacturer: Bioworld Merchandising Distributor: Five Element Distribution Contact: info@fiveelementdistribution.co.uk

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Recalling the simplistic controls of the very first consoles, this useful coat hook can add a retro touch to gamers’ homes.

Featuring the Xbox 360 controller, this shirt lets players display their obsession with Microsoft’s highly popular hardware.

This rubberised take on the NES’ pad allows Nintendo lovers to take their nostalgia for the firm’s first console with them.

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June 12th 2015


HOT PRODUCTS

Sponsored by

HOT PRODUCTS MCV takes a look at the best accessories heading to UK retail. This week, we take a look at PDP’s new glowing headset for Xbox One and power up our Amiibo with Datel’s latest Action Replay

AFTERGLOW ANKA WIRELESS HEADSET FOR XBOX ONE HOT on the heels of its Kral wireless headset for PS4, PDP has revealed the Anka for Xbox One. The accessories specialist claims that the Anka is the first fully wireless headset released for Microsoft’s machine. The peripheral connects via an included USB transmitter, which also supports PC and Mac. Up to 100 feet of wireless range can be achieved while using the headset. The dongle is additionally plug and play compatible, meaning no extra drivers are required. Two different audio modes are available, and can be selected by the user by pressing the ‘Mode’ button integrated into the Anka’s left earcup. Bass Boost increases the presence of low frequency sounds, while Pure Audio increases accuracy of noises, boosting clarity and realism.

In addition, the headset also includes controls for master volume and instant self-muting, which disables the built-in microphone while chatting online. The microphone is retractable when not in use, and features noise cancelling to increase the clarity of the user’s voice while speaking and decrease distortion. The Anka offers up to 16 hours of life on a single battery charge, or can be optionally connected using the included play and charge cable to provide uninterrupted use.

[INFO] RRP: £99.99 Release Date: August 28th Distributor: Exertis Contact: 01279 822 822

AMIIBO ACTION REPLAY POWERSAVES WITH Nintendo’s toys-to-life Amiibo continuing to sell out at a rapid pace, Datel hopes that its latest Action Replay product will prove highly popular with fans. PowerSaves allows Nintendo players to enhance their Amiibo. By placing the figurines on the included PowerSaves platform, the system will then automatically recognise the characters. A number of power-ups and extra abilities can then be selected and applied from a list of hundreds of different profiles. Players then hit the ‘boost’ key to make the augmented Amiibo ready to be used.

June 12th 2015

38

The software lets gamers back up their Amiibo saves, securing them against the risk of losing data. The recovered information can be restored within seconds. Extra Amiibo saves and improvements can be added by going online and retrieving them for free, after connecting the platform to a PC via the included USB cable.

[INFO] RRP: £23.99 Release Date: Out Now Distributor: Datel Contact: sales@datel.co.uk

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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

June 12th 2015

Web: www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk

40

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

Web: www.finkcreative.com

Tel: +44 (0)203 137 3781

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

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Web: www.sonydadc.com

June 12th 2015


DIRECTORY

GAMING ACCESSORIES

L3I

GAMING ACCESSORIES

VENOM

New officially licensed products

Dual Charging Stand & Battery Packs Dock, store & charge 2 DUALSHOCK®4 wireless controllers.

Tel: + (0)1923 471 020

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®

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”, “PlayStation”, “DUALSHOCK” and ” ”are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Also, “ ” is a trademark of the same company. All rights reserved.

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 June 12th 2015

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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 RENAISSANCE PR

DIRECTORY

WHO? Specialism: PR Location: Flat 20, The Clocktower, Kings Road, Woking, GU21 5HU

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

Contact: W: petrullo.co.uk E: stefano@petrullo.co.uk P: +44 (0) 7828 692 315 T: @iltrullo

Former Ubisoft senior PR manager Stefano Petrullo discusses setting up his own PR outlet, Renaissance

FOR GREAT ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITIES, CONTACT CHARLOTTE NANGLE CNANGLE@NBMEDIA.COM

Tell us about your new PR firm. Renaissance is all about legacy, based on doing PR since 1997. The Renaissance approach is pragmatic with no jargon. Any project is focused on the consumer, putting the media and the client on a similar level.

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

What makes Renaissance stand out from its competitors? I see other agencies as partners rather than competitors. We offer PR services, but we also help other agencies with pitches before they present to clients. On top of that, I am creating a bootcamp for indie developers that have no resource to hire a PR agency and want to create their own campaign. What clients will you be working with? We are working with Revolution on the launch of Broken Sword 5 for PS4 and Xbox One, Slitherine Software for corporate PR, Domino Effect in preparing their first Kickstarter project and Digital Tales for the release of the official SBK15 game. We also cover all of Europe for PIXYUL, which is a studio comprised of former developers of Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed and Deus Ex, during the launch of their Steam Early Access game BIOS. What are your aims for the firm? Renaissance wants to bring experience to people that need it and passion to reaffirm the role of PR as a facilitator for media To be included in the Develop Directory (which appears every month in Develop and now every week in MCV) contact cnangle@nbmedia.com

in creating content relevant for clients in the most transparent way possible. In five years I see Renaissance as a big team of seasoned and dynamic people, all working together with selected clients that share our vision. Tell us something about your company no one knows. The first idea for Renaissance dated back to 2013. How did you choose your company name? ‘Renaissance’ could not be more appropriate for the changes taking place in the world of PR.

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

I am creating a bootcamp for indie developers that have no resource to hire a PR agency.

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June 12th 2015


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PUBLISHERS IN THE REGION Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, Ubisoft, Warner Bros, Activision Blizzard, Bethesda, Bandai Namco, Square Enix, Take-Two, Sega, Capcom, Telltale Games, Konami, Riot Games

MORE than 150 million Americans now play video games, according to national trade body the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The organisation’s latest industry report states that 42 per cent of Americans play games regularly, for at least three hours weekly. A third of players aged 13 and up now game on mobile platforms. However, the ESA adds that mobile’s success hasn’t necessarily impacted traditional games platforms, with more than half (54 per cent) of gamers saying their playing time has increased across all devices. SuperData Research observes that the US games software

market grew from a value of $16.8bn (£10.9bn) in 2013 to $18.4bn (£12bn) last year, with a total of $19.8bn (£12.9bn) estimated by the end of 2015. This is primarily driven by mobile, with the sector estimated to rake in $4.5bn (£2.9bn) in revenue during 2015. The ESA says that digital sales comprise 52 per cent of overall game sales. SuperData adds that, in April of this year, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare was the biggest-earning digital console title, generating $14.4 million (£6.4m). Among the challenges facing US development are meritless patent lawsuits and strict immigration laws that make it hard to retain talent.

The US games software market grew to a value of $18.4 billion in 2014.


MEANWHILE IN... JAPAN The lower-tier SKU of Nintendo’s Wii U console is now out of production in Japan, with a new model set for introduction in July THE 8GB Wii U Basic is no longer available in Japan. Nintendo announced that the lower-priced edition of its latest console would ‘go out of production shortly’ last month. This makes the Wii U Premium, a black machine with 32GB of storage, currently the only option for gamers in Japan. However, from July 13th, a white 32GB Premium Wii U offering will be introduced to the region. Nintendo recently saw the Wii U return to the top of the rankings in Japan, as Splatoon’s chart-topping week one sales helped the machine become the best-selling console for that week.

The Wii U Basic was rumoured for discontinuation in the UK late last year, following a significant cut of the trade price for the budget model. Retail sources told MCV at the time that the £70 discount was

part of an effort to clear existing stock. Nintendo has yet to state whether the Basic Wii U SKU will also be halted outside of Japan.


INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION Sponsored by

GLOBAL DISTRIBUTORS IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR NEW PARTNERS OVERSEAS, THEN LOOK NO FURTHER

BELGIUM

CLD DISTRIBUTION Rue du Grand Champs 14 , B 5380 Fernelmont Belgium Tel: +32 81 83 02 02 Fax: +32 81 83 02 09 Email: infos@cld.be Web: www.cld.be home of www.dragonwar.eu & www.mawashi.eu

CYPRUS

SWEDEN

G3 GREAT GAMES LTD 4 Gregoriou Papaflessa Street, Office 101, Engomi, Nicosia 2414, Cyprus. Tel: +357 22 666612 Web: www.greatgames.com.cy

GAME OUTLET EUROPE AB PO Box 5083, S-650 05 Karlstad, Sweden Sales dept: ali.manzuri@gameoutlet.se Sales dept: andreas.lindberg@gameoutlet.se Purchase dept: hamed.manzuri@gameoutlet.se Purchase dept: david.nilsson@gameoutlet.se Web: www.gameoutlet.se

IRAN

BRAZIL Sony Music Entertainment Brasil # 1 Physical Distributor in Brazil Rua Lauro Muller n°. 116 – 40°. Andar Salas 4001 a 4003 Botafogo Rio de Janeiro RJ CEP. 22.290-160 Tel. +55 21 2128-0771 Fax: +55 21 2128-0747 Email : rodrigo.altieri@sonymusic.com Website: www.sonymusic.com.br | www.day1e.com.br

UAE

DC GAMES GROUP No.9, Hemmatian St., Takestan St., Sattarkhan Tehran, Iran Tel: +98-912-1014090 +98-21-44228670 Email: Bahizad@Doostan-Co.com Web: www.Doostan-Co.com

ALESAYI UNITED COMPANY Video Games Distributor in the Middle East, P.O BOX 16999 Jebel Ali Free Zone Dubai U.A.E. Tel: 00971 4 883 5960 Fax: 00971 4 883 5175 Email: marketing@alesayi.ae U.A.E. Website: www.alesayi.ae Group Website: www.alesayi.com

NORDIC

WORLDWIDE

WENDROS AB SWEDEN, NORWAY, DENMARK & FINLAND Jakobsdalsvägen 17 12653 Hägersten Sweden Phone: +46 8 51942500 Fax: +46 8 7466790 Email: HM@wendros.se LM@wendros.se Web: www.wendros.se

CLICK ENTERTAINMENT LIMITED Email: info@click-entertainment.com Web: www.click-entertainment.com Phone: +44 (0)203 137 3781

MCV WORLDWIDE Editorial: + 61 (0)424 967 263 Leigh.Harris@mcvpacific.com

Advertising: + 61 (0)417 084821 Joel.Vandaal@mcvpacific.com

WWW.MCVPACIFIC.COM

MORE DISTRIBUTORS AUSTRALIA AFA Interactive, Bluemouth Interactive, Five Star Games, Mindscape, Namco Bandai Partners, Turn Left Distribution BENELUX CLD Distribution, Koch Media, Gameworld Distribution B.V. CANADA E One, Importel, Just4Games, Solutions 2 Go, Vidéoglobe CYPRUS Access, Gibareio, Zilos, Nortec Multimedia CZECH REPUBLIC Cenega, Conquest, Comgad, Playman, ABC Data DENMARK Bergsala, Elpa, Impulse, Koch Media, Nordisk Film Interactive, Nordic Game Supply, PAN Vision FRANCE Big Ben, Innelec, Koch Media, SDO, Sodifa GREECE Zegatron, CD Media, Namco Bandai Partners, IGE, Nortec, Enarxis, Beacon HUNGARY CNG.hu/Cenega Hungary, CTC Trading, Magnew, PlayON, Stadlbauer ICELAND Sena, Myndform, Samfilm, Ormsson INDONESIA Maxsoft, Uptron, Technosolution IRELAND MSE Group, Baumex JAPAN Ajioka, Happinet, Jesnet NORWAY Bergsala, Game Outlet, Koch Media, Nordic Game Supply, Nordisk Film, Pan Vision POLAND CD Projekt, Cenega, Galapagos, LEM PORTUGAL Ecoplay, Infocapital, Koch Media, Namco Bandai ROMANIA Best Distribution SERBIA ComTrade, Computerland/Iris Mega, Extreme CC SPAIN Digital Bros, Koch Media, Namco Bandai Partners, Nobilis SWEDEN Bergsala, Koch Media, Namco Bandai, Nordic Game Supply, PAN Vision, Wendros, Ztorm (digital) UAE Red Entertainment Distribution, Pluto Games (LS2 Pluto), Viva Entertainment, Gameplay Entertainment, Geekay Distribution

TO ADVERTISE IN THIS SECTION PLEASE CONTACT CTALLON@NBMEDIA.COM June 12th 2015

46

www.mcvuk.com


OFF THE RECORD

OFF THE RECORD This week, we reward our first #AllForOne winners, PlayStation kicks off its Schools Cup finals and we connect Nintendo’s Jo Bartlett with Kevin Bacon #ALLFORONE, ONES FOR ALL AFTER weeks of intense competition, we’re happy to reveal the first winners of our #AllForOne challenge, held in collaboration with Xbox. The first four challenges asked members of the industry to get creative, designing Xbox-themed Easter Eggs, reminiscing about their best Halo memories, setting a new high score in Sunset Overdrive and getting gruesome with a zombie selfie. We had an influx of entries, from which we eventually pulled our first four victors, who have all been sent their prize – a brand new Xbox One. So, congratulations to week one winner Dits Symeou, week two top dog Cryss Leonhart of Aeria Games, week three’s collective victors at retailer Stark Computers and Gaming, and week four’s champion Claire Chamielec, who will be able to put her feet up and enjoy her prize after she runs the British 10k in London for SpecialEffect in July. This week’s challenge (below) is the tenth and final chance to get your hands on an Xbox One – don’t miss out.

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

DON’T MISS YOUR CHANCE TO WIN AN XBOX ONE IT’S OUR FINAL XBOX ONE GIVEAWAY – AND IT’S A SUPER CHALLENGE TO END WITH XBOX teamed up with MCV over the last two and a half months to run a series of weekly challenges. Every Friday, Xbox has tested gamers and posed key questions based around upcoming events. Just for industry folk and retailers, there’s a way to take part via MCV which could win you some fantastic prizes. This week’s challenge is our last competition for now, which means it’s your last chance to win a brand new Xbox One. Enter now by tweeting your answer to us, emailing us or posting on our social feeds.

MCV XBOX CHALLENGE NO.10:

HOW TO ENTER

HEROES AND VILLAINS It’s our tenth #AllForOne challenge, which also means it’s your last chance to get your hands on an Xbox One. With Batman swooping onto consoles later this month and the cinema gearing up for a summer of superheroes, we want to see your best hero and villain costumes. Use what you can find, from random rags to creative takes on existing clothes, then snap a picture and show us (see right).

WIN!

O Tweet us with a picture or

video of your entry to @MCVonline - don’t forget to use #AllForOne with your entry. Make sure you use both our handle and the hashtag! OYou can also send entries to offtherecord@nbmedia.com - use #AllForOne in the subject OAlternatively tell us via Facebook - you can find us at facebook.com/MCVonline ODeadline for entries is 5pm on Friday, June 19th

HAVE YOU ENTERED ANY OF OUR PAST CHALLENGES? THE NEXT SET OF WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON June 12th 2015

48

www.mcvuk.com


OFF THE RECORD

THE WEEK IN 140 CHARACTERS

WINNING STREAK MOBILE studio Space Ape Games has convinced a load of YouTubers (pictured below) to streak for charity. No, not THAT kind of streaking. Throughout June, Let’s Play stars Bjcandive, Nickatnyte, Jorge Yao, Jrod12399, Godson, Molt, DonJon, King24412 and TheAlvaro will be aiming to achieve a winning run of 10 victories in Space Ape title Rival Kingdoms, with the first 100 to do so winning a $100 donation towards the charity of their choice. The highest-streaking player will earn an additional $10,000 to give away to one of Space Ape’s 11 selected non-profit organisations.

E3 SPECIAL: We asked the industry for their advice on surviving the biggest event in games. Here are their tips: @drinkrelaxplay Watch it here with us instead!

Loading Bar Tuesday June 2nd @cymrogav Make your Devolver appointment for the end of the day, as they have BBQ food and booze...

Gav Murphy, IGN Tuesday June 2nd @NeilGortz Dress like the locals and blend in.

Neil Gorton, Capcom Tuesday June 2nd

@johnneh Buy a new pair of trainers for E3 each year. Helps me mentally prepare and keeps my feet from imploding while I’m out there.

Johnny Chiodini, Eurogamer Tuesday June 2nd @_DanBoise_ Drink lots of Red Bull. It’s the easiest time to survive!

Dan Boise, GGS Tuesday June 2nd @SvendJoscelyne Double-check booth locations - in 2011 I made the rookie mistake of booking two appointments backto-back in opposite halls!

ON THE BALL

Svend Joscelyne, Ziff Davis Tuesday June 2nd

THE Games 5s wasn’t the only event to embrace the footballfriendly weather last month. PlayStation joined with the English Schools’ Football Association to again host the finals for the PlayStation Schools’ Cup at Reading FC’s home grounds, the Madejski Stadium. More than 2,000 schools and 100,000 kids were whittled down to two teams: Oakwood Park from Maidstone and South Hunsley. In the end, it came down to penalties, with Oakwood taking the trophy 4-3. Among the football stars to come and support the event were Aaron Ramsey, Andros Townsend and Nathaniel Chalobah.

www.mcvuk.com

@HollieB Want one of those free lunches? Bring some kind of weapon and your fighting spirit – you’re going to need it.

Hollie Bennett, PlayStation Tuesday June 2nd @simonjward Befriend a PR who has a comfy lounge with Wi-Fi. The press area is like walking through the Wild West 10 minutes after a shoot out.

Simon Ward, Toxic Magazine Tuesday June 2nd

49

June 12th 2015


OFF THE RECORD

SIX DEGREES OF JO BARTLETT

AS THE MUCH-LOVED GAME OF CONNECTIONS RETURNS, WE FIND OUT HOW NINTENDO’S HEAD OF COMMS IS LINKED TO THE BACON HIMSELF Kevin Bacon starred in X-Men: First Class with...

...Gerard Butler. The grizzled action man also starred in a 2001 TV miniseries as...

...Michael Fassbender, who also appeared in 300 with...

June 12th 2015

...Sega, at which Sarah Head is a senior PR executive, having formerly worked at Fever PR with...

...Attila the Hun, who is the focus of an expansion for PC title Total War, which is published by...

50

...Jo Bartlett, head of communications at Nintendo UK.

www.mcvuk.com


LIVE YOUR EXPERIENCE NOW PRIVATE TEAM The player will have the possibility to create his personal team, buying custom bikes and liveries and choosing its name and logo!

GP CREDITS The new virtual currency will allow to progress in the career and to buy bikes and liveries to customize your rider!

BEAT THE TIME this new game mode, the player will have to beat the record on a URGEKƂEVTCEMYKVJCURGEKƂEDKMG

REAL EVENTS Get in the shoes of a real MotoGP™ Champion, change the reality or relive the most spectacular moments of the 2014 season!

OFFICIAL ROSTER 2015 MotoGP™, Moto2™ and /QVQv 1HƂEKCN 4QUVGTU CTG CNN included!

IMPROVEMENTS Graphics and bike physics improvements will offer an even more realistic experience in MotoGP™15!

motogpvideogame.com #motogpvideogame

MotoGP™15 © 2015 Published and Developed by Milestone S.r.l. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2015 Dorna Sports S.L. - All rights reserved.


motogpvideogame.com #motogpvideogame

MotoGP™15 © 2015 Published and Developed by Milestone S.r.l. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2015 Dorna Sports S.L. - All rights reserved.

Profile for Future PLC

MCV837 June 12th  

MCV837 June 12th  

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