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MCV ISSUE 846 4TH SEPTEMBER 2015
“ C O N T E N D E R F O R O N E O F T H E B E S T A C T I O N G A M E S E V E R M A D E ”
THE TELEGRAPH “ M G S V T A K E S C R E A T E S A
T H E B E S T O F A G R E A T S E R I E S A N D S E R I E S ’ B E S T I N T H E P R O C E S S . ”
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O N E
T H E
B E S T
G A M E S
E V E R
M A D E . ”
[ OUT NOW ] “ ”, “ “, “ “ and “ “ are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “ ” is a trademark of the same company. “Blu-ray DiscTM” and “Blu-rayTM” are trademarks of the Blu-ray Disc Association. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ©2015 Konami Digital Entertainment Published by Konami Digital Entertainment BV. Developed by Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.
HIP TO BE SQUARE
THE BUSINESS OF VIDEO GAMES ISSUE 846 FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 4TH 2015
SQUARE’S ROGERS ON THE PUBLISHER’S HUGE LINE-UP P12
Games press joins call for digital charts Eurogamer, IGN, Kotaku, GameSpot and more back Digital Counts campaign by Christopher Dring THE biggest names in the games media have joined MCV’s call for digital data to be included in the games charts. The Digital Counts campaign launched last week with an open letter to games publishers and platform holders, calling on them to share their data so that an accurate games chart can be created. Currently, the UK charts oﬀered by GfK Chart-Track only factor in boxed game sales. The campaign has been warmly received by the wider games media, with support from Eurogamer, GameSpot, IGN, Kotaku, Videogamer, Ars Technica, GamesIndustry.biz and Pocket Gamer.
“Many of my favourite games from the last 12 months have been digital-only downloads, so for them not to be included in the UK charts is archaic, especially for an industry that prides itself for being at digital’s cutting edge,” said IGN’s UK editor-in-chief Alex Simmons. “Many smaller developers aren’t getting the recognition they deserve, and the shift to a games
chart that truly represents what consumers are buying needs to happen, and quickly.” Eurogamer’s editor Oli Welsh added: “The lack of accurate data on digital game sales hampers the development of our industry and does a real disservice to games as an artform. Entire genres, business models, ﬁelds of development and even platforms are either under-represented or ignored completely in the charts. Most importantly, we get a skewed picture of what the public enjoys, and the amazing diversity of the medium isn’t fully represented. The music industry ﬁgured this out a long time ago. It’s time we caught up.” Story continues on page 4.
London calls for MCV publisher French MCV PUBLISHER Michael French is to leave his post on September 18th for a new role with UKIE and Film London. He’ll lead a major new initiative, backed by the Mayor’s Oﬃce, designed to promote London as a world-leading games destination. French has worked at NewBay Media (formerly Intent Media) for 12 years in total across two tenures, starting as an editorial assistant on MCV. He has served as editor of Develop, editor-in-chief of MCV and Develop, and most recently publisher of the games division for two years. In his new role, French will lead a programme designed to grow the games business in the UK capital.
It will include strands across B2B and consumer events plus cultural activity. A fuller announcement of the plan a joint initiative between UKIE and Film London, backed by the Greater London Authority - is expected next month. “It’s not easy to step away from MCV and Develop, the great brands and teams I’ve helped build in the last decade. But the opportunity with UKIE and Film London is just impossible to turn down,” he said. “An exciting and ambitious plan is in place to grow the stature of the UK games business via London, I can’t wait to get started on it.” UKIE chair Andy Payne added: “I have the utmost respect for Michael and am really looking
I cannot wait to get started on this exciting and powerful project for UKIE and Film London Michael French
forward to working closely with him to establish London as a global digital capital.” Speaking about the project to bolster the games market in London, Adrian Wootton, CEO of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “This is an exciting time for Film London, UKIE and the Mayor of London, as we forge ahead with our partnership to make London one of the world’s most exciting centres for Games production.” UKIE CEO Jo Twist added: “This is a fantastic initiative and we look forward to working closely with Michael to deliver a truly exciting programme of activity.” French starts his new role on September 21st.
PLUS THE HISTORY OF METAL GEAR SOLID TWITCH VS YOUTUBE GAMING
Media backs Digital Counts ...Continued from front page GAMESPOT UK editor Rob Crossley, added: “We strive to give readers the most accurate information possible. Reporting on the UK games chart is at odds with this due to a vacuum of digital sales data. “I am sure that the decision makers at Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are deeply proud of the acclaimed and culturally signiﬁcant games that give new life to their digital platforms. Divulging their sales data is a wonderful opportunity to show all entertainment sectors just how well the games business is thriving and innovating.” Most media outlets say they will continue to cover the UK charts, but will do so with caveats that the data only factors in physical game sales. “Whilst bricks and mortar stores still play an important part in the sale and marketing of games, the rising relevance of digital retail has long been undeniable,” said Gamesindustry.biz European editor Dan Pearson. “Without a proper idea of what’s selling on Steam, PSN and Xbox Live, it’s impossible to fully understand the retail landscape in one of the world’s biggest and most innovative games markets. “I’d be very pleased to see platform holders releasing sales ﬁgures. But this relies on the consent of the developers and publishers involved. I’d urge them to participate, allowing us all a closer understanding of the way our industry is evolving.” Videogamer’s Tom Orry added: “With an abundance of digital-only releases and tempting digital price reductions, a chart that takes all these sales into account should absolutely exist. We’d love to report on this chart data, in turn giving our readers a true look at what’s hot each week.” Rob Hearn, managing editor at Pocket Gamer parent Steel Media, says that his site has long beneﬁtted from an accurate mobile chart. “We use this data all the time, and if the same sort of data were available for PC and console, the journalists who write about them would be able to serve their readers much better.”
UK boxed games market hits lowest point since 1996 ...or did it? Bricks and mortar data highlight bleak summer, but what about digital? by Alex Calvin SALES of UK games plunged to their lowest point in 19 years for the week ending August 22nd. According to GfK Chart-Track, just £4.46m was generated by boxed software revenue for that period, the lowest amount since the data ﬁrm’s inception in 1996. This ﬁgure only factors in boxed sales, not digital downloads, further highlighting the need for more digital data. But it isn’t all gloom for the High Street, says Chart-Track director Dorian Bloch. “We’ve made it through summer and the year-to-date is actually not as bad as you may think, down two per cent in revenue and eight per cent in units,” he told MCV.
Year-to-date, it’s not actually as bad as you think, down just two per cent in revenue. Dorian Bloch, Chart-Track
Bloch added that he expects the market to pick up signiﬁcantly now that the big games are coming. Indeed, the market rose 94 per cent in value on the arrival of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, Until Dawn and Disney Inﬁnity 3.0. “Remember that Black Friday is November 27th and I believe this will be as signiﬁcant an event as last year, given that consumers will now be expecting a huge amount of deals to be available. “Black Friday 2014 combined revenue of software, console hardware and gaming accessories was the sixth biggest games retail day ever – £60m – in the UK and one of only nine days ever to record over £50m in revenue.”
GAME boosts events business with Multiplay expansion MULTIPLAY is growing its Insomnia events by almost ten times their current size. The eSports festival - which currently takes place three times a year – is moving from Coventry’s Ricoh Arena to Birmingham’s NEC starting from this December. The GAME-owned Multiplay has signed a three-year deal with the NEC to host the events. “We are expecting over 100,000 visitors in 2015,” said Multiplay CEO Craig Fletcher. “The move to the NEC, the UK’s largest exhibition venue, opens up a number of opportunities to engage both existing and new fans on an even greater scale – allowing us to continue our growth trajectory and remain an increasingly popular destination for every type of gamer.”
Multiplay is taking Insomnia to Birmingham
Next up for Multiplay is to develop a series of local, smallerscale Insomnia events. GAME CEO Martyn Gibbs added: “For over 16 years the team at Multiplay has overseen the growth of Insomnia from a small, local gaming event
into the UK’s largest gaming festival. They have never lost sight of the fact that Insomnia is there to not only entertain gaming fans but to bring together communities of gamers.” Insomnia56 will take place between December 11th and 14th.
‘YouTube can catch Twitch’ by Alex Calvin YOUTUBE’S new Gaming portal is a genuine threat to Twitch, warn prominent video journalists. Although YouTube comfortably leads the market with videoon-demand content, Twitch has become the platform of choice for live-streaming. Something YouTube hopes to change. “YouTube is late to the party, but I’d never discount it as it has that established user base” said Mike Channell, presenter and co-founder of YouTube channel Outside Xbox. “There are more people watching gaming content on YouTube than there are on Twitch. It has a potential audience
of literally millions and as long as they can access that audience they aren’t in any trouble.” Videogamer’s head of video production Simon Miller added: “If any service out there can make up the gap, it would be YouTube. It’s something YouTube is going to have to be very dedicated to doing.” But Twitch has brushed oﬀ the threat. “Competition is good for any industry and it validates what we already know, which is gaming video is a huge market that others want a piece of,” said PR director Chase. You can read more about YouTube vs Twitch on page 19.
MEDIA SHOWS LACK OF FAITH IN CHARTS
n an act of rare solidarity, the entire UK games media bandied together this week behind the Digital Counts campaign. Even our ‘rivals’ over at GamesIndustry have been happy to put their name behind the movement (which was lovely). Contrary to popular belief, games journalists don’t like printing inaccuracies and lies. This is precisely why Kotaku stopped running the UK charts in March of this year and it is why Gamasutra stopped reporting on NPD’s ﬁgures over two years ago. This data is not a true reﬂection of what their readers and your customers are buying, so what’s the point? We talked last week about the PR opportunity that is being missed by not having an accurate chart. And you can expect more big-name media brands to stop reporting on these charts as we move forward... while those that are continuing to cover the Top Ten are doing so with a series of caveats and warnings. It may not be a reason alone to start sharing data, but there is some personal pride being damaged here. How do you think the developers of this week’s number one – Gears of War: Ultimate Edition – feel when games journalists are writing: ‘It got to No.1, although this only takes into account boxed sales, so maybe it didn’t.’ MCV spoke to a developer last week who worked on the original Banjo Kazooie. He told us how when the N64 game
(Left to right): Videogamer’s Miller, Outside Xbox’s Channell and Twitch’s Chase
PRE-ORDER TOP 10
FIFA 16 (PS4)
FIFA 16 Deluxe Edition + Pre-order DLC (PS4)
FIFA 16 (XO)
Call of Duty: Black Ops III (XO)
FIFA 16 Deluxe Edition + Pre-order DLC (XO)
Fallout 4 (PS4)
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (PS4)
Forza Motorsport 6 + Pre-order DLC (XO)
DualShock 4 20th Anniversary Edition (PS4)
Super Mario Maker + Artbook and Amiibo (Wii U)
EA Activision Blizzard EA Bethesda
An accurate chart is a PR tool, but it’s also a badge of honour – something for developers to show their mums. reached No.1 in the charts, he pulled out the chart from [MCV predecessor] CTW and he still has it on his wall. Sharing data will help the UK games industry attract investment, and an accurate chart is a powerful PR tool... but it’s also a badge of honour. It’s something for marketers and developers alike to put on their CV and show their parents. So what now for the Digital Counts campaign? Well, we sent the open letter we wrote last week directly to the games industry’s biggest decision makers, both in the UK and abroad, and we eagerly await their response. And if you’re a publisher or developer that is eager to see an end to the digital charts farce, please speak out. Because surely if MCV and our competitors in the games media can unite for a common good, then you can as well. firstname.lastname@example.org
September 4th 2015
Capcom teases further remastered games Commercial success of this year’s Resident Evil HD release inspires publisher to go through back catalogue by Matthew Jarvis CAPCOM is considering giving more games the remastered treatment after the success of January’s Resident Evil HD. The company is currently working on an updated version of 2003’s Resident Evil 0 and is completely remaking 1998 classic Resident Evil 2. It has also updated Devil May Cry 4 and DmC: Devil May Cry for the new consoles. “Resident Evil HD fared extremely well; it’s the fastestselling day-one digital game on PSN,” Capcom marketing director Antoine Molant told MCV. “We are extremely happy with that. “Resident Evil 0 was already in the development pipeline when Resident Evil HD was released so that game’s success wasn’t really part of our decision to bring that
title to the gamers. Given what we have seen from the fan base since the announcement, we expect it to do extremely well.” He added: “I can’t comment on our unannounced projects, but obviously a success like RE HD makes us look at remastered games in the future. “Having said that, its commercial success isn’t the driving force. For example, Devil May Cry 4 and DmC: Devil May Cry were both released shortly after, with performances we are very happy with. “It goes back to these questions: ‘Can we deliver to the right level of content and quality?’ and: ‘Do our fans want it?’” Capcom has announced it will bundle the remastered versions of Resident Evil and Resident Evil 0 onto one disc in January next year.
Capcom’s Molant predicts that the upcoming Resident Evil 0 HD will sell well
Dovetail Games Fishing set to oﬃcially launch in October UK publisher Dovetail will launch its ﬁshing game this Q4. Due to arrive in late October, Dovetail Games Fishing has been built using Unreal Engine 4. It was made available via Steam Early Access in November 2014, and will be removed from the platform on September 8th. Players can still keep playing and issue feedback via a closed Beta. “It’s been a new and eyeopening experience for us to take this game through the Early Access process,” said development director Darren Potter. ”The feedback we have received from players has been instrumental in helping us to shape the game design and gameplay, although we have learnt the importance of being very focused in the information we ask for. Whilst it’s impossible to integrate every single request
September 4th 2015
we’ve received, we hope that the ﬁnal game we have created meets our consumers’ high standards.” Dovetail SVP Jon Rissik added: “As we move into the launch phase, we think we have developed a great recipe for creating the best ﬁshing experience ever. A highly experienced team with a great pedigree has developed the game; we’ve used Unreal Engine 4, the most cuttingedge technology on the market and we’ve worked with a range of leading ﬁshing equipment manufacturers to integrate the very best and latest equipment for an authentic experience. All while watching our fans play the game and listening to what they think about it. We are conﬁdent that this is going to be a highly playable and immensely enjoyable ﬁshing experience.”
Dovetail Games Fishing will leave Early Access on September 8th
More free-to-play titles will fall foul of ASA, predicts Lovell Moshi Monsters ruling poses questions over complex free-to-play legislation by Christopher Dring MORE free-to-play games will be criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority for trying to ‘exhort’ money from children. That’s what Nicholas Lovell, director of Gamesbrief and leading consultant on freemium games, predicts. Last week, the ASA ruled against 55Pixels’ Bin Weevils and Mind Candy’s Moshi Monsters for trying to persuade young children to spend money. Both developers have already changed the wording in their games to comply with the ruling. But the ASA’s rules pose further questions, says Lovell, and it will take time for the industry to full understand what is and isn’t allowed. “The most interesting thing to me is that ‘internal’ ads now appear to be under the same restrictions as external ads,” he said. “The ASA has long been responsible for making sure that an advertisement followed its rules which included things like not being misleading or, in the case of ads aimed at children, not exhorting them to make a purchase, or to pester their parents to do so. “This ruling makes it clear than an oﬀer to subscribe to
The ASA’s criticism of Moshi Monsters forced developer Mind Candy to change the game
a premium service, within the game, is just as much an ad as an external banner, which may have escaped people’s notice. It means that all games with in-app purchases or upgrade paths are now media businesses, subject to the ASA rules. “I suspect there will be more referrals as we, as an industry, get to grips with the ASA code. Two other things to note:
All games with in-app purchases are now media businesses, subject to the ASA rules. Nicholas Lovell, Gamesbrief
both companies referred were British. I wonder how this would fare if the company involved was American, or Chinese, or Russian” “And both of these games were aimed at children. They fell foul of the ‘exhortation’ rule. So it may not aﬀect games aimed at grownups so much. Which leads to a question: is a game like Hay Day, with its cartoony graphics, aimed at children or at adults?”
Nominations open for this year’s MCV 30 Under 30 MCV’S 30 Under 30 returns next month. We are calling upon the UK games industry to nominate those you feel deserve a place in MCV’s list, which recognises the 30 most-ambitious and worthy young men and women in the UK games industry. MCV’s 30 Under 30 is open to all involved in the games business – publishers, retailers, media and supporting industries (except development – MCV’s sister title Develop looks after that sector).
To be eligible, you need to be under 30 until after October 2nd 2015. Those reaching the age of 30 before then are not able to enter (although feel free to send us the obligatory ’30 over 30’ suggestion). To nominate someone, simply send over their name, job title and role, as well as a hi-resolution image of them and a paragraph on why they should be a part of this year’s list. Nominations should be sent to Alex Calvin at acalvin@ nbmedia.com before 5pm on Friday, September 18th.
MCV’s 30 Under 30 recognises the 30-most talented and ambitious young men and women within the UK games industry
September 4th 2015
UP & DOWN
Physical Market Data A slew of new releases causes a rise in boxed software sales and revenue
LEGO JURASSIC sales rose, but still fell due to a number of new games
£5m 204,836 units
Week Ending August 15th
£4.46m 187,705 units
Week Ending August 22nd
£7.1m 269,210 units
Week Ending August 29th
THE NUMBER of new releases rose with Gears of War, Until Dawn and Disney Inﬁnity 3.0
IS VR THE FUTURE THIS WEEK?
SEPTEMBER 2015 .................................................................................. LEGENDS OF GAMING LIVE Alexandra Palace, London, UK Saturday, September 5th Q Host to YouTube Legends tournament ﬁnals Q Areas include Indie Zone, Pro-Gamer Challenge and Over-18 Tournaments EGX The NEC, Birmingham, UK Thursday September 24th – Sunday September 27th Q The UK’s largest games event Q For the ﬁrst time, EGX is in Birmingham Q Organisers predict 80,000 attendees for the three-day show
OCTOBER 2015 ..................................................................................
“VR is like learning to walk again. You’re opening your eyes and you’re seeing the world and it’s diﬀerent. It’s bright, it’s new.”
DEVELOP LIVE Pinewood Studios, Bucks, UK Wednesday, October 7th Q One-day conference examining the crossover between game development and movie production Q Speakers include Her Story developer Sam Barlow, Centroid Motion Capture CEO Phil Stilgoe, Atomhawk founder Ron Ashtiani and Gobo concept artist Jenny Harder
September 4th 2015
J. Lee Williams, Occupied VR
5 SECOND FACTS
THE NEWS IN 140 CHARACTERS The Tweets you might have missed in the last seven days
Your shortcut to sounding clever in the pub, we take you around the industry in under 30 seconds
MCV LAUNCHES DIGITAL COUNTS CAMPAIGN
Last week, MCV launched its Digital Counts campaign designed to encourage publishers to share their digital sales data. We even cut charts from the magazine. Following the story, we received a wave of support from around the UK games industry.
Windows 10 has now been installed on over 75 million devices, Microsoft has announced
5m @Sdinsey1 Well done @MCVonline on being brave enough to bin retail charts and start ‘Digital Counts’ campaign. Big thumbs up from @CurveDigital
@tamcgarrigan Very happy to support the #DigitalCounts campaign as is so important to the future landscape of our industry.
Stuart Dinsey, Curve Digital Thursday August 29th
Tracey McGarrigan, Green Man Gaming Thursday August 29th
@Doctoe People can share own data on their own games. don’t even need to rely on retailers, but it helps. Time to revive chart project? Jo Twist, UKIE Thursday August 29th
@OliWelsh Couldn’t agree more with the reasoning behind this. Gaming needs a reliable and fair measure of success. Oli Welsh, Eurogamer Thursday August 29th
@PaulSulyok Data can be sanitised, & should no longer be kept a secret in our industry. Very proud to support #DigitalCounts
@GeorgeOsborn Total backing to MCV’s campaign about digital game sales. The charts should represent what people are actually paying for and playing George Osborn, Pocket Gamer Thursday August 29th
Paul Sulyok, Green Man Gaming Thursday August 29th @ichambersuk Completely agree. Can’t believe we are still talking about this with digital over 50 per cent of some publishers revenue.
Mobile title Pac-Man 256 has reached ﬁve million downloads within ten days of its launch
2015 Valve has revealed that it will only be releasing a limited quantity of its Vive VR headset in 2015
1m Psyonix’s car football title Rocket League has sold one million copies on Steam
12 RPG title Divinity: Original Sin II has reached its Kickstarter goal of $500,000 in just under 12 hours
@smcowley Blimey MCV dropping truth bombs on digital sales data. As one of few publishers to support the UKIE project, am pleased it’s being pushed. Simon Cowley, NCSoft Thursday August 29th
Ian Chambers, Magic Links Thursday August 29th
Xbox ONE Rock Candy Wired Controller - PDP Design and manufacture the Oﬃcially Licenced Microsoft Rock Candy Wired Controller for Xbox ONE email@example.com
GAMESAID THIS WEEK VOTING FOR GAMESAID CHARITIES OPENS SEPTEMBER 7TH ..................
.................................................... PLAY YOUR PART BECOME A MEMBER AMBASSADOR TRUSTEE WWW.GAMESAID.ORG
The nomination process for this year’s GamesAid charities has closed and between September 7th and September 14th, members will be able to vote for organisations that will receive funds.
CYCLOTHON 2015 ..................
On September 10th, Sega employees will be taking part in the Cyclothon 2015 – a 12-hour relay race where competitors take turns in racing around the Brands Hatch. Donations can be made here: www.justgiving. com/SegaCyclothon2015/
RIVER DART 10KM SWIM ..................
Unboxed’s Dominic Mason will be swimming 10 kilometres down the River Dart in Devon on September 6th to raise money for GamesAid. If you are interested in supporting him, you can do so here: www. justgiving.com/DomMason/
September 4th 2015
Curse’s Lindberg moves to Twitch Joins streaming ﬁrm as eSports sales boss OMarketing promotions at Capcom O Vet Anderson joins Wargaming TWITCH | Curse’s VP of sales has moved to the livestreaming giant. NATHAN LINDBERG has joined Twitch as its director of eSports sales. He worked at media firm Curse for six years, joining in 2009 as regional sales manager before rising to VP of sales via a stint as director of sales. “I’m ecstatic to begin my work at Twitch as its director of eSports sales,” Lindberg told MCV. “Given Twitch’s prowess and expertise in the marketplace, it was the perfect place for me to continue my aspirations of making eSports mainstream entertainment.”
Septmber 4th 2015
ANTOINE MOLANT (bottom left). He joined Capcom in 2011 as the firm’s pan-Western marketing strategy manager. Before that he held brand manager roles at Atari, Vivendi and Sega. “Stuart and Antoine continually impress with their marketing work within the Capcom Europe team working across the whole brand portfolio,” said European CEO KATSUHIKO ICHII.
CAPCOM | The publisher has made two promotions in its marketing team. STUART TURNER (above left) is promoted from marketing director to senior marketing director. Turner has worked in marketing at Capcom since 2007 when he joined as a marketing manager. He then rose to marketing director via stints as head of UK marketing and head of marketing in UK and Europe. Before his time at Capcom he was a product manager at Sony. Taking Turner’s place as marketing director is head of marketing PR and community
WARGAMING | The World of Tanks company has hired a new European marketing and communications director. Industry veteran KEITH ANDERSON joins from his role as acquisition marketer at Fable
studio Lionhead. During his long career, Anderson has held marketing roles at Magic: The Gathering company Wizards of the Coast, as well as EA, BioWare and Red 5 Studios. “Throughout my career I’ve been introducing new players to great games and awesome communities,” said Anderson. “It’s a privilege to be joining Wargaming at a time when we’re launching fantastic new games like World of Warships, while still growing one of the largest gaming communities in the world. It’s an amazing time of change at Wargaming. We have a visionary leadership team who are building on our core values while investing in new games and new platforms.”
Fu Li nd G ve- in Pi am st g a Ex tch es ag nd po m sh e & in ee ow c ve tin ca on stm gs se fer e en nt c e ad vic e
The UK’s only interactive content marketplace is back
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12TH 2015 ST MARY’S CHURCH, MARYLEBONE, LONDON
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT CONOR TALLON ON 01992 535647 OR EMAIL CTALLON@NBMEDIA.COM
XXX XXX INTERVIEW PHIL ROGERS, SQUARE ENIX
Celebrity Squares It’s an all-star line-up from Square Enix over the next six months, with the return of Tomb Raider, Just Cause, Hitman and Deus Ex. Christopher Dring speaks with Europe and Americas CEO Phil Rogers about managing expectations in a perpetually changing games industry
It feels like Square Enix is in a constant state of restructuring, with regular changes to how you operate. Are you finished now? I don’t fell like we are constantly restructuring. We are always looking at our business and working out how to best organise stuff. The industry changes and one of the big things over the last couple of the years has been the European team working hand-inhand with the American team, and since March this year we’ve had them working officially across LA and London. So there have been some changes there, but we do that to make our business better and so we can invest in different areas. We want to always improve by changing and it is what we have to constantly do. It’s a big six months for your Western IP, with the return of Hitman, Just Cause, Tomb Raider and Deus Ex. Last time you had a line-up as strong as this, you sold almost 9m games [2012/2013 with Sleeping Dogs, Hitman Absolution and Tomb Raider], but that was still below your targets. Have you set more realistic expectations this time? Have you been more cautious with budgets? We’re always careful with how we manage development. This new generation has installed well. If you go back two years, few companies would have predicted that [PS4 and Xbox One] would have gone in as fast as they have. That gives us confidence. But we’re constantly learning and trying to predict where install bases will be, how things are going to resonate...
September 4th 2015
we’re rethinking how we deliver stuff to gamers.
but we’ve also learned that great games can sell for a long period. For us it’s not just about a day one spike and then forget about it, what we are trying to do is make sure we continue to engage and build sales over a longer lifetime. The way consumers are discovering games has changed, it’s more viral, community and word-of-mouthdriven. They are reading more gamer reviews now than perhaps press reviews.
Surely though, with Hitman coming out during the Christmas period, it would make sense to release it in a box? Boxed is an important part of the whole Hitman experience. We feel that at some stage people will want to buy it in a physical form, when it’s all completed and packaged up. We will talk about that towards the end of the year. How digital and boxed work in harmony is going to be really important, not just for us but for the entire industry.
Is this ‘community’ thinking the reason why you’re releasing Hitman as a download-only game this Christmas, and updating it with free DLC over time? We are dev-centric. When you are in the final months of development, that’s when some devs have their most creative ideas. It’s then that they understand the tool chain, how to create great content... really they are at their peak. With Hitman Absolution [developer] IO realised its creativity was peaking and that it could continue to deliver more content. That seeded the idea that, with the next Hitman, it could have an ever-evolving, ever-deepening world. This is definitely a studio-led initiative that supports a lot of Square Enix’s goals as well – experimenting and pushing boundaries around how consumers perceive content and how long we support our games. Look at Just Cause, yes we have Just Cause 3 coming, but we still have hundreds of thousands of gamers every month in Just Cause 2... it is five years old. At the time of shipping Just Cause 2, nobody would have believed that. So
People are starting to expect a shortterm or even instant release period. Phil Rogers, Square Enix
You only announced Hitman a few months ago, and it’s coming this December. Bethesda has done something similar with Fallout 4. What do you make of this trend? To have such a long protracted period... can you maintain the excitement over that period? For some games, to shorten that period is great. I think you’ll see more of that. Publishers are even announcing games that you can play that night. People are starting to expect a short-term or even instant release period. Ten years ago, launch was the end of a long cycle, but now it’s the start of a multi-month or multi-year relationship with gamers. What made you decide to put together an E3 press conference this year? We felt we had a lot of important messages and some great games to show. Yes E3 is a trade show, but it isn’t, it’s an event
PHIL ROGERS, SQUARE ENIX INTERVIEW
The next six months sees the return of (left to right) Deus Ex, Hitman, Just Cause and Tomb Raider
that captures gamers around the world. So to have a one-off showcase dedicated to Square Enix experiences, which we can broadcast to millions, is a great way for us to engage. Would you do it again? Yes, we would. Timing has to be right, but E3 is a huge opportunity. Your biggest E3 moment didn’t come during your press conference, but in PlayStation’s when Final Fantasy VII Remake was revealed. The reaction in the room was deafening. How did that impact you? As a whole business we felt humbled. The thing that really surprised me is that during the first three seconds of the trailer, people got it. Some had to wait to the end of the trailer, but for a lot of people they got it instantly. And it was like a wildfire. Everyone
involved was delighted. Was that the biggest cheer that night? Was it the biggest cheer of E3? It was certainly a great experience.
FOUR SQUARE In a little over three months, Square Enix will release four of its most lucrative brands:
One of your recent successes has been episodic new IP Life Is Strange, which has come via a partnership with developer Dontnod. Are you targeting more third-party deals like this? We are always looking. We didn’t know much about Dontnod, and we needed production leaders to make sure that the relationship worked. But it’s an investment worth making. Our London Studio team is the same group that decided there was a Batman property to work on with Rocksteady, and Arkham Asylum spawned from there. This is the same team that worked with Avalanche in the early days of Just Cause. And it’s always looking for new relationships.
RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER Xbox One November 10th The 2013 Tomb Raider reboot was such a success that Microsoft has paid big money to secure temporary exclusivity to this blockbuster. JUST CAUSE 3 PS4, Xbox One, PC December 1st 2010’s Just Cause 2 sold over six million units and still has active players. Square Enix is already advertising it – you couldn’t escape the game at E3 and Gamescom. HITMAN PS4, Xbox One, PC December 8th The new Hitman will be released digital-only initially, with extra missions and locations distributed for free at regular intervals. A physical SKU will follow. DEUS EX: MANKIND DIVIDED PS4, Xbox One, PC February 23rd The sequel to 2011’s acclaimed Human Revolution is part of a broader strategy of turning Deus Ex into another multimedia IP for Square Enix.
September 4th 2015
THE HISTORY OF METAL GEAR SOLID
Prec ous Metal Metal Gear Solid isn’t just one of the oldest surviving franchises in games – it’s also one of the most revered. With long-awaited swansong The Phantom Pain now on shelves, Matthew Jarvis interrogrates industry fans and those involved in the creation of a legend
etal. Gear. Solid. Three words that, when combined, would mean complete gibberish, if it weren’t for the existence of one of gaming’s greatest franchises. Instead, utter the title of Konami’s iconic stealth series in certain company and you’re likely to be beset by tales of switching the controller port in order to defeat MGS1 boss Psycho Mantis, spending hours stalking aged sniper The End in MGS3 and confusing cries of ‘I need scissors, 61’ from particularly dedicated MGS2 fans. You’d be hard-pressed to find a member of the games industry unacquainted with the first Metal Gear Solid, which crept onto PlayStation in 1999 (one year earlier in Japan). Although, according to series creator Hideo Kojima, sales expectations for the title were low, it shot to the top of the UK charts, sold six million copies globally and has frequented ‘Best of’ lists ever since. What you may not know is that Metal Gear Solid did not kick off the franchise. It was actually itself a sequel to a pair of games: Metal Gear for the MSX (which later came to the NES) and Metal Gear 2 for the MSX2, the latter of which never made it to the UK.
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“Play the original MSX Metal Gear now and what’s amazing is how many of Kojima’s ideas were there,” recalls Rich Stanton, games journalist and author of A Brief History of Videogames. “It took another decade before Metal Gear became Solid with the move to 3D, and invented a new genre of high-concept blockbuster.” But it was MGS that brought the series to a mainstream audience outside of Japan, and laid the foundation for a franchise that has sold over 39 million units worldwide.
imitated the full voice-acting and cinematic style of movies. But the game also introduced elements completely unique to the virtual world, including a boss that reads the player’s Memory Card and forces them to change controller port to win.
Michael Cooper, store manager of Games Centre Ayr, recollects: “Metal Gear decided quite early on that it wasn’t a game. It was an experience. Snake, Kojima and Konami didn’t just peek behind the fourth wall; they practically walked into your living room.”
140.96 Lisa Villaume, Senior EMEA Brand Manager, Konami
SNAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION So, how is it that a moderately successful stealth game from Japan managed to become one of gaming’s biggest brands? “Where to start,” muses Pete Stone, Konami’s current branch director for Northern Europe, ANZ and South Africa, who served as UK GM from 1992 to 2013. “These are games that constantly up the ante. They have forced others to up their game on every level, and their influence can be seen in many a title.” Many of MGS’ reigning achievements were technical: rarely before had games
METAL Gear Solid is one of those iconic brands within the gaming industry; it’s lasted the test of time and recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. To last this time takes innovation, immense creativity and vision – MGS is a franchise that certainly has done this. What drives the brand forward is you never know what to expect from each release.
For me, it’s definitely the story that makes MGS stand out – its twists and turns and never knowing what is going to come next has been a key factor in the franchise’s longevity. You are always kept guessing.
MG 2: Solid Snake (Japan only)
Metal Gear Solid
MGS2: Sons of Liberty
MGS3: Snake Eater
MGS: Portable Ops
MGS4: Guns of the Patriots
MGS: Peace Walker
THE HISTORY OF METAL GEAR SOLID
Rich Stanton, games journalist and author of A Brief History of Videogames
HIDEO Kojima is one of gaming’s greatest creators, and by achieving a breakthrough success found himself in a gilded cage. He and his outstanding team revere and, in a small way, resent MGS - which is why the series can be so brutal with its characters, themes and in what it says to the player. Alone, MGS is an all-time classic and enormously influential. What has kept the series at the cutting edge over four hardware generations is developer Kojima Productions’ ability to reinvent the game around its core systems. You could write a book about any one of the games, and how they are differentiated from each other. An infamous part of
Pete Stone, Branch Director for Northern Europe, ANZ and South Africa, Konami
Kojima’s interviews over the years is his oft-repeated declaration that this Metal Gear would be his last. Recent events make it seem like this may finally be the case. Tragic as this is, it’s perhaps an inevitable end to the tension that has kept MGS so vital. Kojima Productions’ swansong will be The Phantom Pain. If reports are to be believed, KP disbanded following the game’s completion. It’s no surprise Kojima and KP leave with a clear message; MGSV is the end, but the people who made the series and the fans won’t ever forget what it was like to be a part of. Whatever may follow, it has little choice but to face this grave, and salute.
I WAS GM for the UK office but, to be honest, our first encounter with MGS was as a name on a potential release list. At the time, there hadn’t been a big MGS title and, while I knew of the series from the NES version of Snake’s Revenge, it didn’t have a strong reputation at that time. Mr Kojima had been responsible for Policenauts, which had been excellent but only sold moderately, but it wasn’t until we saw an early build that we knew how good MGS was. The product guys were calling us in to show us it, and the more they played it, the better it got. The graphics were obviously great for their time, but it was also original in that you had to avoid guards as to opposed just
shooting them. We knew pretty soon that it was one of the best titles on the horizon – and we had quite a few high profile titles at that time. Things exploded after the release of the first game, and anticipation has got higher with each release. The E3 demo for MGS2, the open world and jungle setting for MGS3; each game just gets evermore ambitious, with Mr Kojima always looking to push the boundaries in terms of gameplay, presentation and content. Our emphasis has remained the same. These games enjoy an enviable reputation, so we push them as hard as possible to make people aware of the unrivalled quality they offer.
141.52 Tom Dent, Social Media Stores Co-ordinator, GAME
I HADN’T played a single Metal Gear game until last year, apart from a brief day or two with Guns of the Patriots. But, that all changed when a friend challenged me to play the entire series in the summer of 2014.
Metal Gear Solid basically changed the way I view games, and completely for the better. My personal favourite? Peace Walker. It defines the MGS series. And to think something that epic fitted on the PSP is mindboggling.
140.66 Michael Cooper, Store Manager, Games Centre Ayr
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
MGSV: Ground Zeroes
MGSV: The Phantom Pain
NOT many games let you have a fag in the snow after slipping past two faceless guards then riding an elevator to a snow encrusted military base. Metal Gear Solid gave us that. And that was only five minutes in.
MGS changed gaming. It wasn’t just noise and lights and thrashing about anymore. It went over to the fourth wall, banged on it twice, and the world had no choice but to say: “Huh? What was that noise?”
September 4th 2015
THE HISTORY OF METAL GEAR SOLID
Jon Sloan, MD of An.x Agency, which has worked on marketing for the franchise since the first game, adds: “For me, it’s a singular vision that helped MGS stand out. Yes, there’s a huge team that contributes greatly to the creation and marketing of the game but there’s always been one person driving that. Kojima-san’s vision of what stealth-action should be has played a huge part in getting the series to where it is today.” Richard Jones, European brand manager at Konami, summarises: “It can sometimes be a slog through the long cut scenes, cheesy dialogue and confused politics. But when everything aligns, it’s grand, pompous, overblown, thoughtprovoking, heart-breaking, cute, clever, daft and never anything less than utterly entertaining. There aren’t many games you can say that about.” SNAKE FOR LAUNCH Metal Gear Solid’s twisting narrative and dedication to messing with players’ perception wasn’t solely restricted to the games themselves. The franchise has become known for its cryptic marketing. Most notoriously, 2002 sequel MGS2: Sons of Liberty was demonstrated at E3 and shown in trailers with MGS1 protagonist Solid Snake. Players who picked up the game were shocked to find that, other than a short introduction segment starring Snake, the entire game is spent playing as a completely new and unannounced character: Raiden. “MGS2 was bona-fide blockbuster before it was released,” Jones recalls. “Everyone was so excited to play as their hero, Solid Snake, again. Then came the famous bait and switch. To this day, it’s a stand-out moment of cunning misdirection and subversion of expectation in games.” Fan reaction was mixed, with some outraged at the lack of Snake. Despite this, MGS2 went on to shift over seven million units and become the fourth-highestrated title of all time on Metacritic. A similarly mysterious rug-pull took place ahead of the launch of MGSV. A new developer, Moby Dick Studios, announced a title called ‘The Phantom Pain’ at the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards. The CEO, who was interviewed while his
September 4th 2015
The ﬁrst MGS (shown here at E3) topped the UK charts and sold 6m copies worldwide
face was concealed by bandages, was called Joakim Mogren – Joakim was quickly rumbled as an anagram of ‘Kojima’ and the title outed as the next MGS instalment. “That reveal meant thinking on your feet to amplify these stunts that delight the hardcore fans, while trying to speak to the triple-A gamers through more traditional methods,” Jones says of the ploy. These are but two of the MGS PR campaigns, which have often proved as memorable as the games. Stone reminisces: “We projected the tanker from MGS2 on a building in Docklands and ate bugs and snake meat for MGS3 in London.” MGS MANIA The games’ complex narrative, which plays out over the course of five decades, combined with the frenzied reveal of each new core entry, has spawned a culture of obsession around the franchise. “We have been responsible for upsetting a number of London retailers with the queues to see Mr Kojima and his team,” says Stone. “I remember the first Uniqlo signing, where they were queuing round the block to get stuff signed. I foolishly went out to take some pictures to see the length of the line. People rumbled I worked for Konami and I almost got beaten up from disgruntled people waiting.” Voltage PR owner Steve Merrett has worked on the brand since MGS2. “People have got very attached to the franchise and the advent of
Metal Gear Solid invented a new genre of highconcept blockbuster. Rich Stanton
social media has seen a level of scrutiny that goes beyond anything you’d expect,” he observes. “We’ve had articles produced about whether the tweets Mr Kojima makes of food have a direct correlation to something he is working on. “Interest in the games has never been an issue; announcements are always well met. Meeting the demand of people while keeping the story secret is the biggest challenge. People want to know everything ASAP, when, like a fine wine or meal, some things are better enjoyed at a more leisurely pace.” GEARING UP It’s not just MGS’ enigmatic elements that have kept fans hooked. The franchise’s visual design – some of which you see splashed over these pages – is as recognisable as its gameplay elements. “There is so much fantastic iconography, plus amazing artwork, which is a perfect basis for product design development,” says Sandra Arcan, senior manager for licensing and merchandising EMEA at Konami. “In addition, there are some seriously iconic elements, such as the cardboard box which Snake
sneaks around in, as well as new fan favourites such as the fulton recovery system and Diamond Dog puppies. “Inspiration can even be drawn from the eras in the MGS franchise - with MGSV set in 1984, we’ve developed an ‘80s-inspired clothing range that not only looks cool but allows us to have some fun with some of the series’ themes.” ? For a series wrapped in mystery since its inception, the future of MGS has never been less defined. Kojima has proclaimed each MGS to be his last, but MGSV appears to finally bring the saga to a close. What lies ahead for MGS and Kojima alike is unclear, but with a legacy almost unmatched among games, it’s hard to imagine an industry without either.
THE HISTORY OF METAL GEAR SOLID
Steve Merrett, Owner, Voltage PR
Jamie Wallace, Online Commercial Assistant, GAME
I STILL remember being a kid and checking out the latest OPSM UK demo disc. It took a matter of minutes after starting the MGS demo for me to be hooked. In the nearly 20 years since that day, MGS has taken us around the world, through the changing of the times and taught us a few valuable
I WORKED on games mags before I was invited to take over Konami PR in 2001. I hit the floor running working on PES 2 and Silent Hill 2, before the big run-up to MGS2 soon after. The buzz was already there for MGS2 following ‘that’ E3 video, but I was also involved with the promotion of Zone of the Enders and the demo of MGS2 it included. I’ve since been involved with everything from Portable Ops and Ac!d through to MGSV. MGS stands out because it innovates so much. If you look back at past MGS titles you can see the hardware starting to match Mr Kojima’s overall vision. In MGS3 he sows the seeds of an open world with the jungle trails and in MGS4 he
life lessons along the way. Of course, there’s been plenty of borderline insanity that comes along with that. That’s really the beauty of Metal Gear Solid as a series; it’s always walked the razor’s edge between comedy and drama and is, in my opinion, the only game to succeed while doing so.
140.37 Richard Jones, European Brand Manager, Konami
I’VE played all the MGS games over the years and, from a story and setting perspective, my favourite is MGS3. I love the Cold War setting, with the world on the brink of a nuclear revolution. MGS3 also has some of the best boss fights in the
series; who could forget the sniper battle with The End, or the surreal encounter with The Sorrow? Then, with the release of MGS3: Subsistence, a true 3D camera was added to MGS for the first time. Allowing the player to fully admire the beautiful environments had previously not existed in MGS.
141.12 Jon Sloan, MD, An.x Agency
I MANAGED the campaign to launch Metal Gear Solid on PSOne into the US. It was Konami’s largest campaign for a few years. We negotiated significant support from SCEA, themed our E3 booth around the Shadow Moses complex and ran a multi-million-dollar media plan. The build up to the first reveal of Metal Gear Solid at E3 in 1997 was crazy; sleepless nights, massive stress, controlled panic, the lot. Like any big event, the tension leading up to it was palpable but then there’s the huge wave of happiness when it all goes off smoothly. It was the first themed booth we’d done in Konami for E3 and I’d been the one that championed it, so I
takes it further with levels that, while small in scale compared to what we have now, can be approached in different ways. It was PSP title Peace Walker that was the game changer, though. The addition of Mother Base laid a foundation that would really come to fruition in MGSV. One of the highlights of working on MGSV has been watching people go ‘I wonder if I can...’ and they invariably can. There is utter freedom in the game, and it makes for some fantastic moments. MGS3 is my personal favourite. The innovation of the fact that one of the bosses dies if you wait him out and the ladder climb are two of my all-time favourite gaming moments.
was both thrilled and dreading it in equal measures. Thankfully, the booth looked fantastic, the promotion team all played their roles perfectly and, as you know, the game was enthusiastically received. It was the start of it all. I remember shooting the TV spot for that launch, too. It was a pretty big production for us, working with SCEA’s agency for a live shoot in an old aircraft hangar. It felt like being on the set for a huge action movie. Being part of the team at the voiceover sessions was incredible, too. It was the first VO recording I’d been to. I had no idea what to expect and there we were working with Solid Snake actor David Hayter. It was the proper Hollywood experience.
September 4th 2015
TWITCH VS YOUTUBE GAMING
The battle for the billion dollar streaming market One year after it tried to buy Twitch, Google has entered the games streaming market with YouTube Gaming. But can it overtake the market leader? Alex Calvin reports
ast week, Google launched YouTube Gaming. It’s a site dedicated to games video. All gaming content from YouTube is available on the platform, and live-streaming has been made easier than before. It’s an enticing proposition that capitalises on the site’s already huge games audience. Gamesrelated content is amongst YouTube’s most popular, with fans spending hours watching stars like PewDiePie – the biggest star on YouTube. The move follows wide-spread reports last year that the firm was attempting to buy streaming giant Twitch. It was Amazon who eventually purchased the firm for $970m. “Gaming has been a big part of YouTube’s culture from the start,” the firm’s games boss Ryan Wyatt says. “Creators and the community have done a great job of growing it and embracing gaming on the platform. “We created a [YouTube Gaming] app and an experience that’s just games content. It’s optimised to find gaming content. It just allows for a better experience when consuming gaming videos. We still will have games on the regular YouTube - that’s not going to change, but we wanted to create an experience that if you’re going just for games, it’s easier and optimised. “It also allows for better discoverability. We built pages for individual games, so if you only care about certain titles you can go to that and find that content instead of just searching Minecraft and sorting by the last 24 hours.
(Left to right): YouTube’s Wyatt, Twitch’s Chase, Videogamer’s Miller and Outside Xbox’s Channell
You have to be a bit technically savvy to go through the search process like that.” Mike Channell, co-founder and presenter of hit YouTube brand Outside Xbox, adds: “Gaming is absolutely huge on YouTube. Games and music are the two dominant forms of content on the platform. It’s had dedicated apps before – for kids and music – and games seemed like a gap in the market. “And its been possible to stream on YouTube for a long time, but the problem is that it was really difficult to find those streams, you had to learn about them via other social media. Obviously streaming is huge within games – the rise of Twitch is evidence of that – so YouTube really needed to address it. YouTube Gaming makes it so much easier to see which of
This is a real step towards YouTube being a big player in streaming. Mike Channell, Outside Xbox
your subscribed channels are streaming at any one time and discovering those live gaming streams. Obviously YouTube is dominant in the video-on-demand side of gaming, but it’s been losing out to Twitch in terms of streaming. There’s money to be made and it’s got the platform and the technology and there was just no-one using it. This is a real step towards YouTube being a big player in streaming.” TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE? YouTube may be the biggest site in the world for video, but Twitch has a massive headstart in streaming. Just last week the site reported it had 1.5m broadcasters and 100m visitors each month. And now it has the power of Amazon behind it. So can YouTube catch up?
September 4h 2015
TWITCH VS YOUTUBE GAMING “YouTube Gaming will be a one-stop-shop for video and live streaming,” Wyatt answers. “That makes YouTube Gaming unique to any other platform in the world, to have both live and video-ondemand content.” And Channell says that though Twitch has a headstart, YouTube has the resources to compete. “I wouldn’t ever count YouTube out. It has huge resource,” he says. “Twitch is a big player. But a lot of the existing big gaming YouTubers are going to find it easier to do both their videos and streaming all in one place. YouTube is late to the party, but I’d never discount them as they have that established user base. There are more people watching gaming content on YouTube than there are on Twitch. It has a potential audience of literally millions and as long as they can access that audience they aren’t in any trouble.” Videogamer’s head of video production Simon Miller adds: “I’d never bet against a Google-backed product – look at how well it does in most spaces. Then again, if you look at [the firm’s social network] Google Plus, maybe it is too late. By the time they launched Plus people were too affiliated with Facebook and didn’t move across. “YouTube has become such a big deal in its own right. If any service out there can make up the gap, it would be YouTube. It’s going to be very hard, it’s something they are going to have to be very dedicated to doing. Without the proper momentum behind it, from the people at YouTube, it won’t do it. “Live-streaming is new. It hasn’t settled into a pattern, so anything could change. It could happen, but it’s not going to be easy.” Twitch is bullish in the face of YouTube stepping onto its territory. “Competition is good for any industry and it validates what we already know, which is gaming video is a huge market that others want a piece of,” Twitch’s PR director Chase tells MCV. “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, but are focused on building upon the foundation we’ve laid with the Twitch community, and incorporating new features our users are asking for.
September 4th 2015
Twitch has exclusive streaming partnerships with E3, PAX and Multiplay (pictured)
“One major difference is our culture is built upon a strong sense of community. Within the broader Twitch audience there are thousands of smaller groups that have their own language, built upon the narratives of their channels and gaming interests. Many of these have grown over time and not overnight with a level of passion that is amazing to witness. We’ve also invested years of development into live streaming tools and features in support of the community, not to mention having a global focus and a presence at every major gaming conference with many exclusive broadcasting partnerships from E3 to PAX.”
Viewers are not loyal to Twitch or YouTube. It’s more about the people they are watching, or the games they want to see streamed
SIGNING DEALS Indeed, Twitch has a number of exclusive partnerships. As well as the aforementioned E3 and PAX, it is the official streaming partner of a number of eSports events such as Multiplay’s Insomnia (pictured above) But Wyatt thinks these matter less than people think. “We like to focus on nonexclusive content in a lot of ways,” Wyatt says. “We had the Call of Duty championships and Nintendo World Championship on YouTube. That’s not to say we wouldn’t think to do a licensing deal with an eSports league or a platform or something like that. We’re the biggest video platform in the world, so we have a lot of people coming to us who want
Simon Miller, Videogamer
to stream, non-exclusively, multiplatform. We want to support them.” And Miller says that though such deals might indeed help YouTube Gaming, they may not be the deciding factor in this war. “With no disrespect to YouTube or Twitch, I don’t necessarily think that viewers are brand loyal when it comes to these things,” Miller says. “It’s more about the people they are watching or the games they want to see streamed. So if the content shifts, I don’t think people would mind jumping across. You’ll get a few people who don’t like YouTube, but at the same time if you are watching your favourite streamer and they are going to do that on YouTube, I imagine most people will go there even if they have problems with it. A lot of it is going to be personality-led. “The other thing is they need some exclusive stuff. If Twitch can say – as Sky Sports does – that it has all this stuff that you cannot see anywhere else, you’re going to go there. “If YouTube can start tying up similar stuff, and if they can’t tap into what Twitch has already done they’ll need to come up with new stuff.” Regardless of who ‘wins’ this battle, competition makes markets better, and the rivalry between the two powerhouses is already making Twitch and YouTube better places for broadcasters and gamers.
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INDIE INTERVIEW STEEL CRATE GAMES
Having a blast in VR Could you keep your cool while telling someone how to defuse a ticking bomb? Indie title Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes asks just that – in terrifying virtual reality. Matthew Jarvis tries to keep up conversation with Steel Crate Games’ Brian Fetter
ut the blue wire. No, wait – cut the red wire.” From James Bond halting the timer at 0:07 seconds to the frantic tapping of a keypad in Counter-Strike, bomb defusal has remained a linchpin of the entertainment industry for decades. Now, one Canadian studio is giving the well-trodden trope a virtual makeover in the form of VR game Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes. “Keep Talking is a co-op puzzle game where one player is in VR, locked in a room with a bomb that they don’t know how to defuse,” outlines Brian Fetter of developer Steel Crate Games. “Their only hope is their friends who are outside with all of the instructions, but who have no idea what the bomb looks like. They have to try to work together to disarm the bomb before it explodes.” That’s right: the game utilises a real, dense book of printed instructions being read out by the non-VR players to guide the headset-wearing individual – the only person who can see one of 30 complicated bombs equipped with a variety of switches, buttons and displays. Think blindfolded Bop It meets IKEA flat-pack furniture construction, with a bomb instead of a bedside cabinet. “We came up with the idea at Global Game Jam in January 2014,” Fetter recalls. “While we were trying to come up with an idea for a game, a number of other participants came by wanting to try Oculus Rift. “We noticed that every time we demoed, one person would be playing and everyone else would just be waiting around for a turn; this gave us the idea to make a game that could be played by multiple
Septmber 4th 2015
Keep Talking features asynchronous multiplayer: one player sees the bomb in VR (left), the others read real-life instructions (above)
people even if you only have one headset. There were a number of different scenarios we thought up, but the one that really resonated with us was bomb defusal.” POCKET ‘PLOSION Keep Talking is part of a new wave of titles designed for VR headsets. It’s already out on Samsung’s mobile Gear VR, with launches planned for the Oculus Rift, Valve’s HTC Vive and Sony’s Morpheus. “The exciting thing about Gear VR is that there is very little setup, so it can be played pretty much anywhere,” says Fetter. “It allows people to just pass and play, which is great for a party game like ours. It also delivers a pretty compelling VR experience despite not having the power of a console or PC. “As more manufacturers start building headsets that can be used with their phones, we’ll probably see the cost decrease and the experience improve to the point where pretty much everyone could have one. This will probably be where we’ll see a lot of the nongaming VR startups concentrating and should encourage a lot of cool
The investment by large companies in VR gives us a lot of hope that the VR market will grow pretty well. Brian Fetter, Steel Crate Games
new applications that will eventually drive mass market adoption of VR.” Keep Talking stands out not only for its focus on VR, but also due to its reliance on local multiplayer. The two overlapping sectors arguably make the game a niche within a niche – so could Keep Talking’s originality be its own downfall? “That is always something on our mind and it’s probably the biggest risk for us,” Fetter responds. “There is always the chance that the VR market won’t be large enough to be sustainable any time soon. “The investment by large firms in VR gives us a lot of hope that the VR market will grow well. Though this may be a small niche, for the moment we’re kind of alone in it, which may actually be better than trying to be part of a larger but far more saturated market. “We’ll see a lot of VR games in the future that experiment with this kind of mechanic. It will probably be a small part of the overall VR ecosystem, but it also shows just how much potential there might be in VR and how we’ve probably only scratched the surface of what kind of experiences can be had.”
The million-pound missed opportunity Sold Out’s founder GARRY WILLIAMS on why digital-only developers should at least consider the money available in the boxed video games market
or over a year now, Sold Out has helped developers with boxed releases in Europe, the USA and the rest of the World. The process is fairly simple and without much stress. When you have a digital master, you have a boxed candidate for release. Developers choose to work with us because we take away the hassle of rating, designing boxes, selling, managing stock, looking after life cycle management and creating brand extensions. It’s a process that is quite painless and very profitable for all concerned. About the only thing we can’t fix, but we can help with, is that unlike digital, boxed games need six months of selling in. It’s imperative that retail has that length of marketing and awareness to get the best results in terms of day one orders and beyond. We have been fortunate enough to work with two of the most forward-thinking developers this year; developers who are beginning the journey to control more of their publishing output. Financial returns and an understanding of routes to market have made our dealings with Team17 and Rebellion lucrative and rewarding experiences. Each partner focuses upon their skill set of bringing the best possible
September 4th 2015
games to market. We add our skill set; maximising boxed sales revenues and managing life cycle.
80 per cent of a game’s sales still come from the boxed market
BOXING CLEVER We are not against digital, but why choose one option to sell games over the other when you can easily have both? Despite the fact customers watch Netflix and stream their music via Spotify, it is clear that they still prefer games in boxes. Each of the format holders’ marketing information shows that boxed sales still dominate the market. 80 per cent of a game’s sales are coming from the boxed market [MCV 835, May 29th 2015]. Even the most evangelical digital advocate sees the value of marketing. With eyeballs looking at stock on shelves and with the High Street’s footfall, there is no place else where you can find such highly engaged, self-selecting customers. Retail really does help your ability to market to all consumers. More financially astute studios will look closely at boxed’s six and seven figure revenues that add to their bottom line. It is clear that the cost of developing a boxed release is very little if you work with an experienced partner in this area. Although some digitally-focused developers may prefer that boxed
Despite the fact consumers stream their music via Spotify, it’s clear they still prefer games in boxes. Garry Williams, Sold Out
faded away, last year’s GfK ChartTrack figures actually showed a growth in boxed sales. Hardly a quarter goes past without MCV showing a survey highlighting boxed dominance or a cry from retail for new releases. It is clear that the demand from both retail and consumers is there, so why would any astute developer leave cash on the table by focusing upon only one sector of games retail? Please continue to pursue digital strategies, as these help a greater number of developers to deliver great games. But, whilst looking at digital opportunities, let’s not forget that boxed retail offers brand extension, usability, discovery, publicity, marketing opportunities and more importantly: solid, proven revenues. Also our model offers a profit split that is heavily weighted in favour of the developer, not the publisher. And remember this fact: ‘The vast majority of console game sales still come from physical stores.’
The Christmas countdown: How to make it under the tree Ebay Advertising’s ALESSANDRA DI LORENZO gives a snapshot of the shopping trends on eBay.co.uk and explores the opportunities for games brands in the run-up to Christmas
he run up to Christmas is a time of huge opportunity for games brands. Not only is it one of the biggest periods of purchasing by existing customers, it’s also a chance to reach a new audience, as people buy for the gamers in their lives. Brands that can engage both sets of shoppers stand to win big in this most lucrative of seasons. According to eBay Advertising’s Christmas Tracker, which helps brands plot the most effective timings for Christmas advertising campaigns, interest in games and consoles begins to peak in mid-November and remains high through Black Friday until midDecember. However, as a large proportion of Christmas shoppers will ‘long list’ before they purchase, brands need to ensure their campaigns are in place before interest spikes in order to gain competitive advantage. Here are my top tips for engaging in the countdown to Christmas this year: START EARLY Brands that establish a relationship with shoppers early on will be more successful at inspiring them when they’re in a purchasing mindset, so engage your audience well before the Christmas scramble. Planning early also gives brands time to test and fine-tune their marketing campaigns for maximum impact.
USE OBSERVED INSIGHT Digital platforms enable brands to be more targeted with campaigns than ever before. Demographic insight can be overlaid with observed behaviour, such as previous searches and purchases, to pinpoint consumers that will be most receptive to specific messages. This ability to target precisely can make a real difference to brands’ share of wallet at Christmas, as shoppers aren’t necessarily purchasing for themselves. For example, a middle-aged woman is unlikely to be a games brand’s target audience for most of the year, but when she starts shopping for her child’s Christmas present, she becomes a potentially valuable customer.
EA’s Star Wars Battlefront is set to be one of the biggest games of this Christmas
purchase requirements, the brand and was able to double sales.
The ability to target precisely can make a real diﬀerence to brands’ share of wallet at Christmas.
LOOK OUT FOR BUDDY BRANDS Brands shouldn’t stop at influencing an intended purchase – they can also capitalise on what consumers have already purchased by tempting them with complementary products. If someone has recently bought an Xbox, for example, they are likely to be interested in gifting newly-released games or musthave accessories. To illustrate this, memory card manufacturer SanDisk partnered with us to serve ads to consumers who had purchased an item requiring memory space in the previous week. By predicting
Alessandra Di Lorenzo, eBay
REMEMBER MOBILE AND TABLET UK shoppers are some of the most tech-savvy and device-agnostic out there. They expect to be able to browse and purchase Christmas gifts across different platforms. Brands should have a presence across mobile, tablet and desktop, and serve targeted ads that complement the purchase journey. SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE Shopping for consoles and games can fall outside the comfort zones of consumers not in brands’ target markets. It’s vital, therefore, to be visible, easy to interact with, and to communicate in clear, Christmasfocused messages. Ultimately, it’s the gaming brands that engage early and harness online insight for precision targeting that will make it under the Christmas tree this year.
Septmber 4th 2015
SHELF LIFE Pink Planet Chippenham’s Luke Findlay on the big launches coming up, his frustrations with the quiet summer release window and what he has planned for the launch of this year’s Call of Duty How has business been recently? Very well. It started oﬀ a little slow, and during the summer holidays there haven’t been many releases. Now we’ve got Until Dawn, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and Metal Gear Solid V. There’s a lot of excitement, which is good as it’s been really dry recently. Just in time, too. Last week was one of the lowest weeks on record for the UK games market. Yeah. People have been holding
gamers need to decide which ones they want, instead of buying the occasional title. They have to choose between Call of Duty, Battlefront and Fallout – so many games in such a short spell of time, but in the summer there’s nothing.
back. They’ve been buying all the pre-owned games that they haven’t played. August would have been a great time to release a game but no-one did until the end. It’s a long-held trend that barely anything comes out in July and August, then from September onwards it’s busy. Yeah. From September we have loads of games coming out. There are so many releases coming out in such a short period of time that
How have your hardware sales been? Very good. The 1TB PS4s and Xbox Ones are both selling really well. The extra storage space has made both more appealing. PS4 is still
PRICE CHECK: SWANSEA
TOP 10 PRE-ORDERS 1. MGS V: THE PHANTOM PAIN DAY 1 EDITION + STEELBOOK Konami, PS4 2. Gears of War Ultimate Edition + Pre-order DLC Microsoft .....................................................................XO 3. Until Dawn Extended Edition Sony............................................................................PS4
Bandai Namco, PS4
4. Call of Duty: Black Ops III + Beta Activision Blizzard ...............................................PS4
9. Amiibo Mewtwo Nintendo................................................................ Wii U
10. Amiibo Modern 8-Bit Mario Nintendo................................................................ Wii U
6. FIFA 16 EA ................................................................................PS4
5. MGSV V: The Phantom Pain Day 1 Ed. + SteelBook Konami .........................................................................XO
FORZA HORIZON 2
7. Call of Duty: Black Ops III + Beta Activision Blizzard ..................................................XO
UPLOADING The latest digital releases coming to market
LARA CROFT GO
BLOOD BOWL 2
The second entry in Square’s GO series is already out for mobile devices
This NFL Warhammer game is set for PS4, Xbox One and PC next month
Switchblade Monkeys’ Western shooter is coming to PC in September
OUT: SEPTEMBER 22ND
OUT: SEPTEMBER 29TH
September 4th 2015
8. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection Sony............................................................................PS4
Pink Planet Chippenham 12 Borough Parade, Chippenham, SN15 3WL
outselling Xbox One here. The ratio is probably about 4:1. Do you have any events planned for some of the big releases coming out? We are doing a midnight launch for Black Ops III. We are also hoping to hold a tournament on the night. To compete with the supermarkets and other retailers, you want to get people into your store. Holding an event is key to getting people into your store.
Phone: 01249 444500 Website: www.planetgamesandgadgets. com
MCV ran an article in April about pre-orders being in decline in the UK. What has your experience of this been? It changes. Some weeks we’ll have loads of pre-orders; the next, none. A lot of people will wait until reviews come out. Reviews for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain came out and now people are pre-ordering like mad. Everyone wants to see gameplay and a review before they pay, which is fair enough.
WANT TO FEATURE YOUR OUTLET IN MCV? Contact email@example.com or call 01992 515 303
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September 4th 2015
METAL GEAR SOLID
METAL GEAR SOLID Konami’s stealth-action franchise is one of gaming’s greatest – and 2015 marks the biggest entry in the series yet. Matthew Jarvis gears up with the latest MGS merchandise
THERE are few games franchises as iconic as Metal Gear Solid. Whether it’s the blaring red exclamation mark of alerted enemies, the man-sized cardboard box that hero Snake uses to hide or the green tinge of the Codec communication screen, elements of Konami’s stealth series have woven themselves into the very language of the games industry for almost three decades. Each Metal Gear Solid title takes place during a different time period
Core fans always want to add to their collection of uber-cool ﬁgures. Sandra Arcan, Konami
– whether it’s the ‘60s Cold War setting of MGS3, the mid-2000s storyline of MGS1, 2 and 4, or, now, the 1980s-inspired world of Metal Gear Solid V. This has allowed Konami and its merchandising partners to create a wide range of products influenced by the differing styles of each decade. “Clothing has proven to be one of the most successful categories for us as we’ve developed something for all tastes,” says Sandra Arcan, senior manager for licensing and
METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN OFFICIAL STRATEGY GUIDE Metal Gear Solid V is touted as the biggest entry yet in the already sizable series. To help players navigate the game’s expansive open world, this guide features comprehensive advice on how to achieve 100 per cent completion. Included is a map-based walkthrough with easy-to-follow annotated screenshots, plus trophy guides and tips on all of MGSV’s weapons and items. The collectable edition of the guide features a hardcover and exclusive lithograph by Yoji Shinkawa, plus additional content such as an art gallery. SRP: £14.99 (Standard), £19.99 (Collector’s Edition) Manufacturer: Piggyback Distributor: Piggyback Contact: 020 7313 9232
METAL GEAR SOLID SHOT GLASSES – SET OF THREE
METAL GEAR SOLID: DELUXE EDITION
These glasses boast the MSG, Foxhound and MGS Anniversary logos on their fronts, with the iconic exclamation mark on the bottom.
This oversized collection brings together all 25 issues of the tie-in Metal Gear Solid comic from Ashley Wood and Rufus Dayglo.
The cardboard box takes on a new lease of life in this speaker, which features a 3.5mm audio jack and up to 200 hours of battery life.
SRP: £12.99 Manufacturer: Gaya Entertainment Distributor: Gaming Merchandise UK Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
SRP: £55.99 Manufacturer: IDW Publishing Distributor: Diamond Comic Distributors UK Contact: 01928 531 760
SRP: £79.99 Manufacturer: Berlin Boombox Distributor: Berlin Boombox Contact: email@example.com
September 4th 2015
DESERT CAMO BERLIN BOOMBOX
METAL GEAR SOLID Sponsored by
O merchandising EMEA at Konami. “One thing that has evolved is the extent to which these apparel items are fully designed – not so long ago, you’d probably mostly find packshot art and some fairly basic iconography on clothing. These days, manufacturers are hiring designers with a fashion background, as well as models and photographers, to create a look which is that much more polished. “Another big category is collectible figurines – these ranges
gaming merchandise uk
have always been incredibly popular as core fans always want to add to their collection of uber-cool figures.” With MGSV proclaimed as the last entry in the series from franchise creator Hideo Kojima, fans are sure to be looking for merchandise mementos to celebrate their time with one of gaming’s most unforgettable brands.
METAL GEAR SOLID V THE PHANTOM PAIN PLAY ARTS KAI – OCELOT Long-time series villain Revolver Ocelot is a ﬁrm fan favourite character. This detailed model recreates Ocelot’s spaghetti western style, including two handguns (each of a diﬀerent calibre) and cowboy boots with spurs. It’s constructed with special soft material in order to minimise interference with articulation. The set also includes alternative hand pieces and other accessories such as sunglasses, letting players pose and dress Ocelot as they desire. SRP: £69.99 Manufacturer: Play Arts Kai Distributor: Square Enix Contact: 020 8636 3000
METAL GEAR SOLID V: GROUND ZEROES MODEL FIGURE KIT
METAL GEAR SOLID V FOX MUG
Inspired by the 1984 setting of MGSV, this jacket also features the logo of in-game military ﬁrm Diamond Dogs.
Metal Gear fanatics can recreate their own sneaking missions in 1:35 scale with this 70-piece model set.
Players can take a break from the stress of sneaking with a cup of Liquid Snake in this mug emblazoned with the FOX unit logo.
SRP: £55 Manufacturer: Insert Coin Clothing Distributor: Insert Coin Clothing Contact: 01702 521 850
SRP: £19.99 Manufacturer: Kotobukiya Distributor: Degica UK Contact: +33 1 55 17 16 56
SRP: £11.99 Manufacturer: Gaya Entertainment Distributor: Gaming Merchandise UK Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
DD84 VARSITY JACKET
September 4th 2015
HOT PRODUCTS MCV takes a look at the best accessories heading to UK retail. This week, Hori lays the smackdown on PS4 with its new arcade stick and Afterglow lights up its new controller
REAL ARCADE PRO 4 PREMIUM VLX PLAYSTATION ﬁghting game fans can gear up before the release of Street Fighter V next year with the latest arcade stick from Hori. The Real Arcade Pro 4 Premium VLX is designed to replicate the popular Vewlix arcade cabinets made by Taito since 2007. The VLX has been oﬃcially licensed by both Taito and Sony. The stick comes equipped with Hori’s original Hayabusa joystick, which it claims will cut input load by 16 per cent versus previous models, and Kuro buttons, which are again improved – reducing wear and tear damage by 60 per cent. Players can toggle the joystick between registering as the
controller’s D-pad, left analog stick or right analog stick. Other buttons can be similarly customised; gamers can remap one button to the L1, L2, Option (or for PS3, Start) or disable buttons. The stick itself can be toggled between PlayStation 3 and PS4 functionality, with Touch Pad compatibility enabled in lieu of the latter machine’s DualShock 4 pad. For further maintenance, players can easily access the internal components of the peripheral to ﬁx and customise it. The face plate can be opened in
the same method as a real arcade cabinet, with the various buttons and parts easy to replace. When travelling, the controller’s cable can be tucked into a compartment in the back of the product.
[INFO] RRP: $299.99 (£191) Release Date: November 13th Distributor: Hori Contact: email@example.com
PDP AFTERGLOW PRISMATIC WIRED XBOX ONE CONTROLLER XBOX ONE players can bring a touch of light to their gameplay with PDP’s latest illuminated controller. The Afterglow Prismatic Wired Controller has been oﬃcially licensed by Microsoft for Xbox One. It features brand new dimmable Prismatic LED lighting, which allows gamers to select their favourite colour from a fullcolour range of LEDs and set the pad to glow brightly. For the ﬁckle, a rainbow mode, which cycles through colours sequentially, can also be enabled. Or the lights can be disabled completely. The controller’s housing is constructed from clear polycarbonate, providing a peek into its inner circuitry and components. This also allows the red action-pulse lighting, which illuminates when vibration is enabled, to shine
September 4th 2015
through when players experience in-game rumbling On the back of the pad sit dual multifunction wheels, which can be set to register up to six diﬀerent actions. The beneﬁt of such a setup is that players don’t need to remove their thumb from the analog sticks to execute the actions, providing a potential advantage in fastpaced games such as online shooters. Furthermore, the controller comes complete with a 3.5mm headset jack, which supports the addition of game and chat audio via a headset. Players can control the volume easily, and without interrupting their gameplay thanks to on-board controls.
[INFO] RRP: £37.99 Release Date: October 15th Distributor: Exertis Contact: 01279 822 822
AT PINEWOOD STUDIOS
A BLOCKBUSTER EVENT AT THE INTERSECTION OF GAMES AND MOVIES Wednesday, October 7th at Pinewood Studios, (near Uxbridge or M25 J16) All-day conference examining the crossover between interactive entertainment and ﬁlm
Special passes include a money-can’t-buy tour of the Pinewood facilities
Venue is the John Barry Theatre, on-site at the iconic world-famous Pinewood Studios, home to movie shoots for the likes of Star Wars, James Bond, Marvel and many more
Global speaker roster with expertise in VFX, graphics, performance capture, game design, narrative and audio
VIP TICKETS £199 gets you a full-day conference pass plus an exclusive VIP Tour of Pinewood Studios’ famous world-class backlot and facilities. Pinewood is not open to the public so this rare opportunity takes you behind the scenes of a key creative centre in the global entertainment business.
ONLY 20 VIP TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE – BOOK NOW! Standard tickets cost £129 and include conference pass plus lunch and tea/ coffee networking breaks.
SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES High-proﬁle sponsorship opportunities will get you in front of a high-level audience of games development professionals willing to explore new technology and the games/movie frontier.
CONTACT Charlotte Nangle firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01992 535 647 to get involved
BOOK NOW AT www.developlive.com Or contact Gerogia Blake on email@example.com or call 01992 535 646
CREATIVE & PROMOTIONAL BRIDGE MEDIA GROUP Tel: 020 3283 8466 www.bridgemediagroup.com ........................................................................................................
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SUPERHERO Tel: +4020 3031 6180 www.superheroscreen.com ........................................................................................................
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Tel: +34 952 028 080 www.localsoftgames.com ........................................................................................................
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Tel: 0207 167 6997 www.gamingmechandiseuk.com
Tel: +44 (0)1753 849 700 (UK) www.vmc.com ........................................................................................................
GAME ROOM Tel: +44 (0) 20 7729 3033 www.gameroom-agency.com ........................................................................................................ BY FRONTROOM
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SOUNDING SWEET LTD Tel: +44 (0) 1789 297453 www.soundingsweet.com ........................................................................................................
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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION CLD DISTRIBUTION Tel: +32 81 83 02 02 www.cld.be ........................................................................................................
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MONETISATION & PAYMENT MILLENNIAL MEDIA Tel: +44 (0) 207 151 3320 www.millennialmedia.com ........................................................................................................
CLICK ENTERTAINMENT LIMITED Tel: +44 203 137 3781 www.click-entertainment.com Wholesaler and distributor of video games, consoles and accessories
TO LIST YOUR COMPANY HERE AND ONLINE EVERY WEEK PLEASE CONTACT CTALLON@NBMEDIA.COM OR CALL 01992 535647
THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT AGENCIES AND SERVICE COMPANIES MEDIA & MARKETING CURSE, INC. Tel: +1 415 856 0056 www.curseinc.com ........................................................................................................
COMPANY PROFILE / SOUNDING SWEET
ADDRESS: Stratford upon Avon
Tel: 0203 701 5682 www.ign.com ........................................................................................................
Ed Walker Managing Director
Karen Faustini Account Manager
RECRUITMENT AMIQUS Tel: 01925 839700 www.amiqus.com ........................................................................................................
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WAYFORWARD RECRUITMENT LIMITED Tel: 020 7734 4664 (London) 0117 966 6038 (Bristol) www.way-forward.com ........................................................................................................
SOUNDING SWEET is an independent recording and audio production company that specialises in the production of sound for computer games. Our facilities include a state-of-the-art 7.1 surround sound dubbing suite and two VO/Foley rooms. We provide the latest audio technology, both in-game and in the studio. We have a comprehensive knowledge of the latest audio middleware and we love to get busy with in-house technology such as XMLs Our services include: Voice recording, sound design, ﬁeld recording, music composition, music editing and production, audio implementation, 7.1 surround sound mixing, trailers and marketing materials, casting and localisation. If you need to listen into a session we can always ﬁnd a way to get connected. We have a very ﬂexible ISDN codec, Source Connect, Skype and, of course, the good old telephone! From supplying a few bespoke sound eﬀects to complete integration with your development team – we would love to talk to you about how we can help with your next project!
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS COMPANY AND MANY MORE ONLINE NOW AT:
MCV DIRECTORY KEY CONTACTS Sony DADC ............................................ +44 (0) 207 462 6200
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September 4th 2015
ENQUIRIES CONOR TALLON Tel: 01992 535647 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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Empowering your creative business
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September 4th 2015
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WANT TO ADVERTISE IN OUR DIRECTORY? Web: www.venomuk.com
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Phone: +44 (0)1763 284181 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
CALL CONOR TALLON ON 01992 535647 OR EMAIL HIM AT CTALLON@NBMEDIA.COM
Tel: +44 (0)1763 284181 September 4th 2015
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Web: www.venomuk.com www.mcvuk.com
INSIDER’S GUIDE PREMIER
WHO? Specialism: PR and communications Location: 2 - 4 Bucknall Street, London, WC2H 8LA
Develop is the only dedicated publication for the UK and European games development community. It reaches over 300,000 subscribers every month.
MCV speaks to senior account manager Lauren Dillon about Premier PR’s event-ﬁlled year
FOR GREAT ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITIES, CONTACT CHARLOTTE NANGLE CNANGLE@NBMEDIA.COM
Tell us about your company. Premier is an industry leading creative communications agency that provides PR, events and marketing services. There are a number of diﬀerent teams that cover everything including games, ﬁlm, theatre, TV, home entertainment, publishing, music and dance. On the games team we have eight people – a mix of entertainment and gaming specialists, all of them brilliant.
THIS MONTH’S DIRECTORY SPOTLIGHT: MHT TV GAME................................................................. firstname.lastname@example.org
What successes have you seen recently? A particular highlight for the team this year has been some really creative work with Google’s Niantic labs in partnerships, and our continued work with Crytek’s Cryengine VR demos. What are you currently working on? There are a number of upcoming events that we’re working on over the next few months including Insomnia 55 in August, Legends of Gaming Live in September and Gaming Istanbul in February next year. On the product side, we’re delight to be working with clients such as Square Enix for Just Cause 3, Hitman and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. What are the biggest trends aﬀecting you right now? There’s a big shift happening in terms of free-to-play and browser-based gaming, coming To be included in the Develop Directory (which appears every month in Develop and now every week in MCV) contact email@example.com
Free-to-play is going to be a huge growth area for companies looking for new models and customers. mostly from Asia, and we’ve seen some great successes, not just on PC, but also mobile content. This is going to be a huge growth area in the coming years for companies looking for new models and new customers, and we’re embracing that change with open arms. What are you looking forward to over the next 12 months? Our industry is full of new ideas and, as gamers, it’s fantastic to be oﬀered such a wealth of content, particularly from a now vibrant UK development scene.
WANT TO FEATURE YOUR COMPANY IN INSIDER’S GUIDE? PLEASE CONTACT MJARVIS@NBMEDIA.COM OR CALL 01992 515 303
Contact: T: 0207 292 8330 W: premiercomms.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org
September 4th 2015
FACTFILE LATVIA Sponsored by
INTERNATIONAL FACTFILE: LATVIA Population: 1,997,500 Capital City: Riga Currency: Euro GDP (Per Capita): $16,836 KEY RETAILERS Videogames.lv, GGWP.pro TOP DISTRIBUTORS SIA iWare Distribution, ACME Computer Components
TOP DEVELOPERS Ambergames, Wyse Games, Innowate, Next Level, MightyFingers, Fun Generation Lab, Farcore, Brain Games PUBLISHERS IN THE REGION Sony, Microsoft
LATVIA may be a small country, but its potential in the global games market is growing. According to market research firm Newzoo, the Latvia games industry generated revenue of $19.1 million (£12.3 million) during 2014, making it the 80th-biggest region for games in the world. Additionally, Latvia is the 17th-biggest games market in Eastern Europe. Data aggregator Statista reports that the growth in Latvia’s games industry is driven by tablet and smartphone games. Mobile revenue is estimated to reach $1.4 million (£0.9m) by the end of this year. Furthermore, mobile revenue is predicted to experience an annual compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 9.26 per cent over the next five years, hitting a market value of $2.1 million (£1.4m) by the end of
2020. This has been driven by the fact Latvian gamers have embraced microtransactions in their mobile titles. The average revenue per user (ARPU) currently amounts to $6.44 (£4.16). Social games have also seen a boom; Latvian social network Draugiem saw its first games launched in 2009, with the two titles – Afrika and Ferma – seeing a combined userbase of over 600,000 users by 2013. The cost of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One games is very similar in Latvia to the UK. Newgeneration titles retail at roughly €60 (£42). However, few consumers can really afford these prices. The Latvian Central Statistics Bureau reports that as of Q1 2015, the average gross monthly salary in Latvia is €785 (£553).
Latvian gamers currently spend $6.44 on in-app purchases on average.
September 4th 2015
MEANWHILE IN... FINLAND Mobile games ﬁrm Rovio has revealed it will be axing up to 260 positions in an eﬀort to refocus the company’s eﬀorts ANGRY Birds company Rovio has announced it will be laying oﬀ up to 260 members of staﬀ in a restructure. The ﬁrm claims this will reinvigorate its falling revenues. Redundancies apply across the entire company except staﬀ working on the upcoming Angry Birds Movie. CEO Pekka Rantala said that Rovio needs to focus on its three core areas of business: games, media and consumer products, admitting that the Finnish company had done ‘too many things’ after the success of mobile hit Angry Birds. “While we have gathered good
momentum this year, especially with the launch of the Angry Birds 2 game – downloaded nearly 50 million times in its ﬁrst month of release – fundamental changes are needed to ensure Rovio
succeeds in its global ambitions to be the leading entertainment company with mobile games at its heart,” Rantala said.
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TO ADVERTISE IN THIS SECTION PLEASE CONTACT CTALLON@NBMEDIA.COM September 4th 2015
OFF THE RECORD
OFF THE RECORD This week, Special Eﬀect’s Rob Camm becomes the ﬁrst tetraplegic in the world to take part in Tough Mudder and Blizzard takes over the V&A museum MUDDY RASCALS EVERY now and again, maniacs gather to take part in the Tough Mudder competition, a 12-mile obstacle course in – you guessed it – an awful lot of mud. It’s a tough challenge for ablebodied competitors, but that didn’t put oﬀ Special Eﬀect ambassador Rob Camm, who became the ﬁrst tetraplegic person to take part and ﬁnish the race in a wheelchair. A wheelchair he controls with his chin, no less. And while that alone is very impressive, Camm also raised £5,000 for Special Eﬀect in the process. Well done, sir!
JUMP SCARES UNTIL Dawn is a game designed to scare the pants oﬀ players, so what better place to take the PS4-exclusive horror title than the terrifying movie event, Fright Fest. Though attendees of this festival are the most hardcore of horror ﬁlm fans, reports indicate that some were so scared by Until Dawn that they were found cowering behind the demo pods. Or perhaps that was just MCV’s staﬀ writer.
MUSEUM PIECES LONG have video games strived for cultural validity, and now they have ﬁnally made it into London’s Victoria and Albert museum. Well, Blizzard held a launch shindig there for its Grand Tournament Hearthstone expansion. But that still counts, right? On the night, games writer Cara Ellison did a DJ set, while Stanley Parable developer William Pugh held a talk. Very prestigious.
September 4th 2015
OFF THE RECORD
Has to be Riley from CoD:Ghosts, even if I did have to carry his wounded arse out of a warzone.
When I grow up, I want to be a rapping dog. Parappa is the best.
Alex Eagles @Cynibot I’d have to say Dogmeat from the Fallout series. Can’t wait to see the dog in Fallout 4.
David Martin @theworldofdavo MGSV’s Diamond Dog. The dog plush from Metal Gear Online 3 comes at a close second...
Border Collie companion (Robbie) in Fable 3.
Yamato from Shadow Dancer or Amaterasu from Okami.
Shi Xian Lee @FSKrieger22 Dogmeat. Can’t wait to have him by my side in Fallout 4
Sam Jones @HeraldSJones Mega Base @themegabase
My Mabari from Dragon Age Origins.
The three Legendary dogs from Pokémon Gold and Silver: Entei, Raikou and Suicune.
katie stubbs @katieee120
KartGaming @KartGaming Obviously ‘Dog’ from Half Life 2
Friki Català @friki_bcn
Arthur Eld @Arthur19Eld
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THE RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD Charlotte Knight GAME
Steve Moore Simply Games
Jennifer Johnson Don McCabe Shop Direct CHIPS
Jon Hayes Tesco
Sarah Jasper The Hut
Gurdeep Hunjan Simon Urquhart Sainsbury’s Microsoft
Dermot Stapleton Niall Lawlor GameStop Get Games
Phil Moore Grainger Games
Igor Cipolletta ShopTo
Phil Browes HMV
Robert Lindsay Games Centre
Stephen Staley Robert Hennessy Paul Sulyok James Cooke Gameseek John Lewis Green Man Gaming Argos
Craig Watson Dixons Retail
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September 4th 2015
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B E S T
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