THE BUSINESS OF VIDEO GAMES
GAMES JOURNALISM EVOLVES
ISSUE 847 FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 11TH 2015
NEW BREED OF GAMES PERSONALITIES REVEAL ALL
Pre-owned is thriving Two years on from its presumed death, the pre-owned sector remains vitally important by Ben Parﬁtt BOXED game sales are falling and the dearth of digital data means the true state of the market remains largely a mystery. But one tried and tested retail sector is certainly in rude health. As recently as 2013, retail feared that next-gen consoles might mark the end for pre-owned games. But while digital continues to claim a growing slice of modern console software sales and post-release digital content swells, pre-owned game sales are up 25 per cent year-on-year for the 12 months ending August 2nd, hitting a value of £126.3m. That’s according to Kantar Worldpanel, which says that the number of pre-owned UK buyers has not actually increased. It stands steady at around 3.2m shoppers, but the amount these gamers spend is on the up. The average pre-owned outlay per shopper is
Pre-owned game sales are up 25 per cent year-on-year for the 12 months ending August 2nd, hitting £126.3m. now £40 – a £10 increase over the previous 12 months. Perhaps more importantly, 72 per cent of these buyers also purchased a brand new game in the last year. And with GfK ChartTrack data showing a further 1.1 per cent decline in boxed new game sales so far in 2015, Kantar believes pre-owned still serves as a huge contributor to the software sector’s overall health. CONTINUES OVER PAGE
GameStop could yet hit UK High Street RETAIL giant GameStop could still make a bricks and mortar UK move – with a range of merchandise shops. It acquired US website ThinkGeek in June for £92m, and is opening the ﬁrst ThinkGeek physical shop in Florida this month. It also operates Zing Pop Culture, a range of Australian merchandise stores.
Now EVP and president of GameStop International Mike Mauler has told MCV that the company is eyeing possible expansion into other territories. And the UK could yet be included on that list. Said Mauler: “We are exploring standalone loot stores in many markets, whether they are called Zing Pop Culture or ThinkGeek.”
We are exploring standalone loot stores in many markets. Mike Mauler, GameStop
PLUS WILL MARIO MAKE SOME NEW WII U SALES? FORZA 6’S LICENCE TO THRILL
It’s not just Q4 that looks good - Q1 is rammed too Uncharted 4, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Mirror’s Edge Catalyst launching in the first three months of next year by Alex Calvin UK games retail is hopeful that the Q4 excitement will continue into next year thanks to a ‘superb’ line-up of titles coming to stores in Q1 2016. The post-Christmas quarter brings with it blockbuster titles such as Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, The Division and Street Fighter V. It may also see the release of Dark Souls III, which is currently due out in ‘early 2016’. “It’s reassuring to know that come January the sales aren’t going to suddenly diminish, like most other years, leaving all of retail wishing that Christmas sales would return,” ShopTo’s head of commercial Alison Fraser told MCV.
(From left to right): ShopTo’s Fraser, Hut Group’s Fethers and Shop Direct’s Johnson
“It’s positive all round to have such an incredible line-up, be it for customers spreading their budgets so as to purchase more titles, or for publishers not to be competing for space in retail in a busy Christmas period, and also for retail who need not be so reliant on Q4.”
It’s positive all round to have such an incredible line-up. Alison Fraser, ShopTo
The Hut Group’s games boss Mike Fethers added: “It’s a superb line-up that shows what can be done during the traditionally quiet time of the year. But I am fearful some of these titles will slip later to more ‘traditional’ release slots.” Shop Direct’s junior games buyer Jennifer Johnson is enthusiastic about the diversity these represent. “After attending this year’s E3, I came away really excited about the line-up of titles on the horizon,” she said. “I’m a big fan of strong female leads in games, so having Lara Croft this year, and the return of Faith in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst in 2016 was amazing. It feels like The Division has been highly anticipated and – with Siege also incoming – I think it’s going to do wonders in fuelling the appetite for more Tom Clancy.”
UK eSports specialist Multiplay targets worldwide expansion BIRMINGHAM NEC is just the start of a proposed global expansion for Insomnia. Event organiser Multiplay which was acquired by GAME in a £20m deal in March - runs Insomnia three times a year. It has historically taken place at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena. It has now outgrown that venue, and boss Craig Fletcher believes he can ﬁll the Birmingham NEC, which is the largest venue in Britain. But that’s not all. The company wants to take Insomnia around the UK with smaller events, and is even targeting countries such as Spain and Ireland.
van Leeuwen hopes new platformer can match Splatoon’s sales success
Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon-level marketing push for Mario Maker NINTENDO is going allout to support, Super Mario Maker, which launches today (September 11th). The platform holder is planning a huge promotion for the game spanning into 2016. “I’d say our marketing push is on the same kind of level as [Mario Kart 8],” Nintendo UK
September 11th 2015
product manager Remy van Leeuwen told MCV. “It’s really one of our big titles this year and it’s deﬁnitely in parity with Splatoon this year. “Super Mario Maker is the next evolution in 2D Mario games. It’s not only here to shake up that formula, but also provide content that will delight the community.”
“We say we are the UK’s biggest games festival, but I want to drop the UK from it,” said Fletcher. “It is about making it the biggest games festival, whether that is in the UK or further aﬁeld. We already have plans for events in other locations in the UK and it’s useful that GAME has a lot of stores in Spain. We have some big international and global aspirations for Insomnia. “We are already doing some activity at Madrid Games Week, we have an Insomnia stand over there. And that is obviously a toe in the water for something bigger. We also have another two countries that we are looking at.”
CONTINUED FROM COVER “Pre-owned facilitates greater activity from those with a keen interest in the games market,” consumer retail analyst Andy Saxton told MCV. “Nearly three quarters of them still buy mint games alongside pre-owned, with their average spend across games much higher (£127) than those who only buy mint games (£82). This is due to them making twice as many trips to buy games during the year (4.6 to 2.3).” The beneﬁts of pre-owned don’t end there, either. Kantar added that 79 per cent of mint physical purchases are preplanned. That means only 21 per cent are impulse purchases – compare this to pre-owned, where 44 per cent of purchases are made on-the-spot by impulsive consumers. Pre-owned also remains a vital entry point for younger gamers. Among the under 25s, pre-
owned accounts for one third of purchases. For the overall market, that ﬁgure stands at one quarter. It’s not all good news, however. The pre-owned market is centred on last-gen machines such as PS3 and Xbox 360. Two out of every three games purchased for last-gen machines are secondhand. For current-gen, just one in three is pre-owned. This could potentially point to some market pain down the line. If PS4 and Xbox One buyers have moved away from pre-owned due to increased digital sales and post-release DLC, then the continuing shift from last-gen to current-gen hardware risks bringing with it the gradual erosion of preowned’s market beneﬁts. It could be, however, that as last-gen consumers migrate to newer hardware – which will almost certainly happen as prices continue to fall – they bring their buying habits with them.
IT’S LIKE 2010 ALL OVER AGAIN
o you remember Online Passes? In 2010 and 2011 it felt like every other story I wrote was about them. As swift as the model’s rise to grace, however, was its equally as sudden decline. So rapid was the move to expunge them that I even had to check the MCV archive to remember what they were called. The idea was that games would come with a DLC code that buyers would redeem via PSN or Xbox Live in order to either receive additional content or, in some instances even unlock, entire modes that without said code would remain fenced oﬀ entirely. Although on-message executives sold this to consumers and the industry as a way of “adding value” to titles or paying for server upkeep, we all know exactly what the purpose of Online Passes was: 1) To dissuade people from buying pre-owned games. 2) To allow publishers to monetise the sale of preowned software. Online Passes were eventually ditched because like far too many measures taken by industries to protect themselves (DRM, anyone?) they, by design, punish the honest consumer. Two years on from their demise, however, some publishers continue to try and incentivise their fans by withholding content from those who don’t play by their rules. Take Square Enix’s recent tiered pre-order initiative for Deux Ex: Mankind Divided,
44% of pre-owned purchases are made on impulse compared to 21% for new games
PRE-ORDER TOP 10
FIFA 16 (PS4)
Fallout 4 (PS4)
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (PS4)
Fallout 4 + Fallout 3 (XO)
FIFA 16 (XO)
Super Mario Maker + Artbook + Amiibo (Wii U)
Call of Duty: Black Ops III (PS4)
Star Wars Battlefront + Pre-order DLC (PS4)
FIFA 16 Deluxe Edition + Pre-order DLC (PS4)
Amiibo ROB (Wii U)
Sony Bethesda EA Nintendo Activision Blizzard EA EA Nintendo
Publishers still try to incentivise fans by withholding content. which unlocks additional content according to how many pre-orders are placed. Now, I actually think much of the backlash to that particular scheme has been overblown. But regardless, the anger directed toward it is telling – gamers are becoming increasingly tired of their treatment at the hands of publishers, and cynicism has become the accepted, and perhaps even expected, kneejerk reaction. The media, too, is becoming more accustomed at reﬂecting this disquiet. Which as servants of their audience is arguably precisely what it should be doing. Pre-orders are in decline and the reception to pre-order incentives is increasingly hostile. Yet publishers persist. Yes, I know that pre-orders are tremendously helpful from a logistical perspective. But by now the industry should have realised that there’s no riskier strategy than provoking an increasingly resentful audience – especially one so adept at sharing and spreading its frustration and anger. Consumers ﬁrst, business second. That has to be the mantra we operate by. bparﬁtt@nbmedia.com
September 11th 2015
THE NEW GAMES MEDIA
It’s games journalism, but not as we know it Traditional games journalism is under threat. Consumers can get their games knowledge from a growing number of sources, not least YouTube stars. So some outlets are radically changing what they do to stay alive. Alex Calvin finds out more about this new breed of games media
he games media is in the middle of a considerable change. With Wikias, forums and YouTube personalities, there are more places to get information about the latest releases than ever before. So in this new age, journalists are having to change up the way they cover games. The influence of YouTube personalities can certainly be felt with a move towards more personality-driven content on some sites. Videogamer, for example, has doubled down on its character-focused videos since the start of the year. It’s turned video chief Simon Miller into a boisterous, ignorant, wrestling-loving anti-hero in The Miller Report. And it’s turned the rest of the team into a range of characters, too. “If you’re on YouTube and aren’t looking at YouTube personalities, you’re mad,” Miller says. “They are a new form of games media. Somewhere along the line, even if it wasn’t necessarily said, when we sat
September 11th 2015
down to discuss what we wanted to do, those stars had to tie in to that somewhere. Videogamer half lives in the ‘traditional’ games journalism space – we do reviews and news – but the other half is this very personality, very YouTubedriven stuff. Though it was something that didn’t come up in conversation, I’d imagine that somewhere in our minds that was a factor.” The influence of YouTube personalities can also be felt in the iconoclastic and irreverent persona of journalist Jim Sterling, who left The Escapist last year to go it alone at The Jimquisition. “Folks like PewDiePie have drawn a huge audience based purely on their persona,” Sterling says. “Whether you like that persona or not, it’s resonated with millions. The games media is very competitive. People are always trying to break news stories or get world exclusive reviews. A lot of sites can’t compete with that. Not everyone has Kotaku’s resources,
If you’re on YouTube and aren’t looking at the hugely successful YouTube personalities, you’re mad. Simon Miller, Videogamer
(Below left to right): The Jimquisition’s Sterling, Videogamer’s Miller, and Kotaku’s MacDonald
not everyone has Polygon’s relationship with developers.” ANNOYING THE BIG BOYS With his ballsy persona, Sterling has made his fair share of enemies. He has even been blacklisted by some publishers. But most of the industry is okay with his brutal honesty. “Most publishers don’t care,” he says. “There are some companies who value someone who will call it like it is. Some don’t. Konami has blacklisted me. I also seem to have been sidelined by Square Enix. But most of the industry has been very supportive. And there are a few who aren’t and that’s fine because I can always buy their game.” Sterling is funded by his audience through Patreon, so he can afford to be brutally honest. But for an ad-funded site like Videogamer, there’s a risk of isolating itself from potential advertisers. “There’s always an underlying thought that may be the case,” Miller says. “But everything we do is very tongue in cheek and silly. If we played a game and thought it was crap, we’d approach that by putting our serious hats on as we don’t want entertainment to get wrapped up in critical analysis. “If someone doesn’t get it and they’re watching a ‘7 Reasons’ video – the last one was done by a fake Scottish policeman [Jim Trinca’s Tam McGleish persona] and was called ‘7 Reasons Why Call of Duty: Black Ops III Can Lick
THE NEW GAMES MEDIA
Characters like Videogamer’s Miller Report are inspired by YouTube personalities
My Hoop’ – I’d like to think that publishers do a bit of research and know it’s not real. It’s all nonsense. If someone doesn’t get the joke, then there’s nothing we can do about that. “It is that South Park kind of thing where everything is okay or nothing is okay. If people go to the website or watch the videos where we actually pass criticism, they’ll see that when we do put our serious hats on, it’s very clear that we’re not doing it to annoy anyone. Publishers are going to get annoyed when someone gives their game a three out of ten. There’s always a way you can annoy them.”
“It’s actually a movement that’s been happening across the entire games media and YouTubers have been a big part of that,” Kotaku UK editor Keza MacDonald says. “People want to engage with games in a different way and engage with how we talk about them in a different way. The news-preview-review cycle is a hangover from print that’s lasted a very long time. Magazines were the gatekeepers to information. People wanted to know about games, they had to read what you wrote about them. It stopped being the case that the games media was the only place you could get information. “You could get news from a growing number of places, including directly from publishers, which is becoming more common. As a response to that, people have been doing different things with covering games. There aren’t many outlets now that just do news-reviews-previews. People have diversified into post-release coverage and cultural coverage.” She continues: “The stories you get about a game after it’s out are
The news-previewreview cycle is a hangover from print media that’s lasted a very long time. Keza MacDonald, Kotaku UK
BREAKING THE CYCLE But this isn’t the only way that YouTube stars have influenced the games media. Kotaku has stopped covering the publisher-led newspreview-review cycle to focus on covering games post-release. The likes of PewDiePie covering games such as Skate 3 years after launch has proven that there’s a demand for post-release content.
much more interesting to write about and hopefully to read than the stories you are given before a game comes out. Instead of doing what we’ve always done, which is: a game gets announced, you follow it to release, you review it and then you leave it alone, we’re pretty much covering a game sparingly before it’s out, and covering it quite a lot once it’s released. You have to play a lot more games. You have to play games more like a normal person. It’s been really good, I’ve enjoyed it. “An interesting example of that is Rocket League, which has been really successful for us. We fell in love with that title when it came out and we found that we covered it a lot despite the fact that no-one said anything about it before. It’s been one of the most fun games for us to cover and articles about it are among the most popular on Kotaku. “This direction also gives us an opportunity to see what people are playing rather than what is being marketed the most.”
September 11th 2015
UP & DOWN
Physical Market Data The launch of Metal Gear Solid V causes software revenue to more than double
GEARS OF War Ultimate Edition sales dip 64 per cent this week as it falls to No.3
£16.6m 484,014 units
£6.2m 242,477 units
£7.1m 269,210 units
Week Ending August 22nd
Week Ending August 29th
Week Ending September 5th
CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK THIS WEEK: PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2016
[INFO] FORMATS: PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC RELEASED: September 18th PUBLISHER: Konami DISTRIBUTOR: CentreSoft CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
September 11th 2015
KONAMI has opted for a strong presence on YouTube in order to promote the latest iteration of its Pro Evolution Soccer series. The ﬁrm also took to Legends of Gaming on Saturday, September 5th to push the football game, and says it will have a ‘good presence’ at this year’s Eurogamer Expo. And next year, Konami will have pitch side ads during every single Euro 2016 qualifying match as a result of its partnership with UEFA. “PES is seen as the football series to watch now,” marketing exec Jon Edwards told MCV. “Having won key accolades with PES 2015, the new game has already won gamescom’s Best Sports game title – its
second consecutive title. All press impressions so far have been universally positive, with critics hailing the game’s intuitive control, all-new animations and gameplay. High reviews scores are also anticipated, with the new Master league and MyClub elements causing very positive reactions and adding depth to the immediacy of the on-ﬁeld action. “Sales for the series continue to grow and we expect further growth for the new game. PES is a series on the up, retailers have ever more conﬁdence and pre-orders are looking very rosy. This is the 20th anniversary of the PES series and we have some very attractive day one options and pre-order incentives, which are garnering a lot of interest.”
MGS V HAD the best-selling week one for any entry in the series, beating MGS2 by 37 per cent
IS VR THE FUTURE THIS WEEK?
YES Initially VR will be like a toy. But soon there will be some utility apps and software. It’s a already starting to appear but it’s yet to be proven useful. Anton Yudintsev, Gaijin Entertainment
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
MAD MAX AND METAL GEAR SOLID V RAISE QUESTIONS OVER GAME REVIEWS
A number of journalists and industry members have once again opened the discussion of game reviews in the wake of Mad Max and MGSV, asking whether professional reviews and scores still have a place in the modern games industry.
The PS4 SKU of Metal Gear Solid V outsold the Xbox One edition by more than three times, forming 72 per cent of sales
1m @JustinMcElroy Think critics assign certain scores to “get people talking”? I’d guess you’ve never been on the receiving end of that “talking.” It blows.
@JoeThreepwood It’s a good job I don’t write reviews anymore because, seriously, I would have slammed this adolescent, indulgent drivel so hard.
Joe Martin, games journalist Saturday, September 5th
GTA V, Rocket League, Ark: Survival Evolved, H1Z1, Cities: Skylines and Besiege have all sold over 1m units on Steam in 2015
Justin McElroy, Polygon Monday, September 7th
PEWDIEPIE FIRST YOUTUBE CHANNEL TO PASS 10 BILLION VIEWS
FTC RULES MACHINIMA ‘DECIEVED ‘VIEWERS The Federal Trade Commission has said that Machinima deceived viewers after it paid video makers to make positive Xbox One content without any disclosure of these deals.
Internet celebrity and prominent YouTuber Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg has become the ﬁrst person to be watched more than 10 billion times on YouTube. @adrianchm Remember that being featured by a famous YouTuber means nearly nothing by itself. @pewdiepie played Layers of Fear on September 5th. Way over 2m views. Sales bump? Basically zero. Adrian Chmielarz, The Astronauts Monday, September 7th
@dannyodwyer This is how so much of YouTube works. From indie devs to big companies, everyone is paying for air time. Danny O’Dwyer, GameSpot Wednesday, September 2nd
@retroremakes What happens if PewDiePie passes 20 billion views and we ﬁnd out that actually humanity isn’t really any better oﬀ for it?
10GB An upcoming PS4 ﬁrmware update will add 10GB of cloud storage, as well as the ability to stream via YouTube
10bn Finnish star PewDiePie has become the ﬁrst person to be watched more than 10 billion times on YouTube
100,000 Multiplay CEO Craig Fletcher has said the ﬁrm expects over 100,000 visitors to its events in 2015
@Sliwinski Spent most of my GDC hanging out with really cool lawyers and discussing how this all plays out over the next ﬁve years.
Rob Fearon, games journalist Monday, September 7th
Alexander Sliwinski, ex-Joystiq Wednesday, September 2nd
Xbox ONE Rock Candy Wired Controller - PDP Design and manufacture the Oﬃcially Licenced Microsoft Rock Candy Wired Controller for Xbox ONE firstname.lastname@example.org
GAMESAID THIS WEEK .................................................... PLAY YOUR PART BECOME A MEMBER AMBASSADOR TRUSTEE WWW.GAMESAID.ORG
VOTING OPEN FOR GAMESAID 2015 CHARITIES
WINDSOR HALF MARATHON
Voting is now open to decide which charities will be receiving funds from GamesAid this year. 12 organisations have been put forward: Accuro, Action for Kids, Jigsaw 4 U, KidsOut Lifelites, MAPS, Myaware, Nightline Association,
Parenting Special Children, Safe @ Last, Special Eﬀect, The Clock Tower Sanctuary. Voting opened on Monday, September 7th, and is open until 12pm on Monday, September 14th. Only members can vote, and it’s free to join GamesAid.
On Sunday, September 27th, a number of GamesAid runners will be taking part in the annual 13.1-mile run at Windsor Great Park. Keep an eye on the GamesAid website at www.gamesaid.org in the coming weeks to see who’s running and how to donate.
September 11th 2015
Powell takes over Nintendo UK trade marketing Former Gem exec promoted OKing hires chief people oﬃcer OSlitherine names senior producer NINTENDO | The platform holder has promoted LOUISE POWELL to head of trade marketing. Powell joined Nintendo UK in 2010 as trade marketing manager before being promoted to senior trade marketing manager in 2013. Prior to joining Nintendo, she worked for two years at distributor Exertis (then Gem) within its marketing department. “Louise has been a passionate and dedicated member of the team and we’re delighted to be able to recognise that via her welldeserved promotion.” said Nintendo UK GM SIMON KEMP.
September 11th 2015
industry and helping them to build successful careers. Mark has exceptional experience in helping companies grow and develop great workforces, and we’re excited to welcome him to the team.” Taylor added: “It’s such a privilege to have joined King at this time. I am incredibly excited about the opportunities ahead to take King to the next level.”
KING | The Candy Crush creator has appointed a chief people officer. MARK TAYLOR has joined King and will be responsible for all human resources activities. Taylor has a 20-year career in HR, having most recently spent nine years at fashion giant Burberry. Before that he held talent management roles at paper company Kimberly-Clark and pharmaceutical firm GSK. “Mark is a great addition to the King team,” said CEO Riccardo Zacconi. “One of King’s greatest strengths is its talent – we’re committed to attracting and retaining the best people in the
SLITHERINE | The developer and publisher behind cult war strategy games has hired DAVID SHARROCK as a senior producer. Sharrock’s career in games started in 2002 when he was
recruited by Kuju Entertainment as a game designer. He then joined PlayStation in 2004, initially as a designer before being promoted to senior producer - working on titles such as SingStar. In 2014 he joined developer NaturalMotion as senior producer for CSR Racing 2. “We are delighted David joined our talented group of producers,” said Slitherine developmnet director Iain McNeil. “With his background, not only will he bring some great experience to the team, but he will also contribute to freshening up and modernising the perception of war games towards the younger and wider audience we are trying attract”.
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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
THE BIG GAME SUPER MARIO MAKER
SUPER MARIO MAKER
Meet your Maker 30 years after Super Mario Bros became a gaming legend, Nintendo is releasing a tool kit with which fans can make their own Mario levels. But is this a Wii U system seller? MCV catches up with Nintendo UK product manager Remy van Leeuwen to ﬁnd out more
Release Date: September 11th Formats: Wii U Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo
ince the launch of the original Super Mario Bros on the NES 30 years ago, Nintendo’s Italian plumber mascot has become an icon. For players, he’s representative one of the best platforming series in the medium’s history. And now Nintendo is releasing the tools it uses to make the 2D Mario games to the public – albeit in a far tidier, user-friendly form. Called Super Mario Maker, the Wii U exclusive lets players design their own levels in the styles of Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros U, and then share them with the community.
September 11th 2015
“Super Mario Maker has got a huge potential to appeal to a very broad audience,” Nintendo UK product manager Remy van Leeuwen says. “Many people have grown up with Mario and it’s a chance for them to take elements they have loved from previous games and mix it with inspiration from their imagination to create their own levels and then share them with players from across the world. “For people who are really keen to play rather than create, levels are pre-installed, plus there’s a near-infinite number of levels available from the community post-launch. There’s going to be a vast pool. So it has a wide reach.”
Super Mario Maker started as a tool kit for Nintendo designers to use. The ﬁnal release is vastly more consumer-friendly. Remy van Leeuwen, Nintendo UK
Within this huge fanbase are a number of game developers who entered the sector because they loved Mario’s games so much. In fact, Nintendo partnered up with Playtonic – the team making Kickstarted 3D platformer Yooka-Laylee - for a live-
stream last Thursday (September 3rd) where the studio showed off the levels they have been making in Super Mario Maker.
SUPER MARIO MAKER THE BIG GAME
“This game inspires creativity unlike anything we have released before,” van Leeuwen explains. “It’s a really
unique offer. A lot of developers in the industry have a relationship with Super Mario Bros. It was a game that inspired those people to become games designers or start working in games. “We thought it would be an interesting angle to give Playtonic the opportunity to make those levels, do something within a Mario environment and make it their own. “Super Mario Maker originated as this tool kit that actual level
designers at Nintendo have used. The final release is something vastly more consumer-friendly.” And the title has clearly resonated with the games media. The review embargo for Super Mario Maker broke last week, with the game receiving near-universal praise. “The reviews humbled us all, as they do every single time reviews come in and they are very positive. Obviously we are hoping it’ll have a very noticable impact on sales,” van Leeuwen says. “We also think that one of the reasons we are releasing Super Mario Maker hardware bundle, which includes the Art Book and
SUPER Mario Maker is one of Nintendo’s biggest games this year, with the firm giving it a marketing campaign that sits between last year’s blockbuster push for Mario Kart 8 and that handed to Splatoon earlier this year. “Our push for Super Mario Maker is really a fully-integrated approach that covers a broad range of below-the-line and above-the-line activities,” Nintendo UK product manager Remy van Leeuwen says. “We have digital campaigns across YouTube and Google, plus social media activities. We are doing a lot of stuff in our specialist channels that we specifically target Nintendo fans and gamers with. We also have ATLs on TV. That’s where we’re going to target mostly kids and families. “On top of that we also had a lot of experiential marketing over the summer. We started out with Hyper Japan, our own Nintendo UK summer tour which was in Newcastle last weekend and then we have Insomnia and Legends of Gaming where Super Mario Maker was playable. We have EGX at the end of September, so that’s out post-launch experiential event.”
September 11th 2015
THE BIG GAME SUPER MARIO MAKER
the Amiibo, is really the perfect opportunity it offers to join the world of Wii U. We’re hoping it’ll have a positive impact on overall sales of the system.” SYSTEM SELLER But, as seems to be asked of most Wii U exclusives, is Super Mario Maker really going to sell Nintendo’s console? “Obviously we positioned it as the next big title to add to their library for existing Wii U owners,” van Leeuwen says. “But at the same time we do believe it is a game that does sell hardware, absolutely.” Given that Super Mario Maker is a family title, and includes sharing and social aspects, it has the potential to go viral. As a result, Nintendo is anticipating a long tail at retail. “Super Mario Maker is the next evolution in 2D Mario games,” van Leeuwen enthuses. “It’s not only here to shake up that formula, but also provide content that will delight the community for a long time to come. We see it as our next evergreen entry in the Mario franchise. We’re looking to support this title far beyond just 2015. He continues: “I can’t comment on anything that we are going to be doing beyond 2015 specifically, but definitely up until Christmas we are going to be supporting this game with a lot of above the line activity, promoting it to kids and families for instance.” But van Leeuwen insists that the title will appeal to core gamers, too. “So many things have been crammed into the game,” he says. “There are so many references to older Mario games, as well
Players can make levels in the styles of Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros U
ANOTHER LEVEL as references to being a more general Nintendo fan, too. “One of the things I personally really like – and it’s a feature that’ll appeal to gamers – is the character costumes that people can unlock in the game by playing the Ten Mario or 100 Mario modes. “Players can access characters like Link, the Wii Fit trainer and many more – we haven’t revealed them all yet. Remember too that you can also unlock them using Amiibo figures. “What is especially appealing for people is that these aren’t just Mario-related characters, but they actually include characters from the entire industry, Nintendo characters and beyond, which I think is really cool.”
We see Super Mario Maker as our next evergreen Mario game. We’re looking to support this title far beyond just 2015. Remy van Leeuwen, Nintendo UK
GAME creation titles are nothing new. We’ve already seen series like LittleBigPlanet bring these tools to console fans. So what is Super Mario Maker doing differently to these games? “One of the things that sets Super Mario Maker apart, specifically if you were to compare it to some other titles, is how intuitive it is,” Nintendo UK product manager Remy van Leeuwen says. “It’s really easy to get started making levels, switching out styles on the go, level themes you can just change at once. You don’t need to save it and then access the file again to play it, it all happens on the fly. That’s really cool. “It’s one of those games that sets the GamePad at the centre of the experience. That’s definitely one of the key things that’ll set it apart.”
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INTERVIEW: DAN GREENAWALT, TURN 10
Forza’s tenth lap The Forza series celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, and developer Turn 10 is putting out its biggest game yet to mark the occasion. Alex Calvin catches up with creative director Dan Greenawalt about the franchise’s latest milestone
en years ago, when the Forza franchise debuted, developer Turn 10 found that car manufacturers weren’t all that interested in video games. “They looked at games as a small licensing revenue thing,” says Dan Greenawalt, creative director at Forza creators Turn 10. “Gamers were kids, so these manufacturers didn’t have it on their radar. Now it’s to their peril to not think of gamers seriously. The rise of the gamer in the last ten years has been amazing. Gaming is mainstream. Games like Forza are one of the best assets that a manufacturer has to create brand affinity, to create brand loyalty in a driver who may not even have a driver’s licence.” He adds: “These companies now come to us. Where before, we’d have approached them, now McLaren, Ford, Lamborghini, Ferrari all come to us, telling us about their new car that they want to have in the game” One manufacturer to partner with Forza this year is Ford. The firm’s new Ford GT is the cover star of Forza Motorsports 6, and was even lowered onto the stage at this year’s E3. “With Ford in particular, it told us about the Ford GT before most of Ford knew about it,” continues Greenawalt. “I was actually there when they were developing the car. When there were execs coming down and being told about it, I had known about it for six months. It was crazy. “Ten years on it’s gone from we ask them to they ask us, to now ask us before they ask their own management as to whether they
September 11th 2015
Forza has improved due to its relationships with real manufacturers
can do it. It’s incredible.” But there are more to these deals than just marketing the next flashy car. It helps the studio, too, says Greenawalt. “Technologically we learn a lot from our partners, and it’s different every time. Some specialise in this, others in that. We just tell them how we do simulation, here’s why and here’s all the data we have. They ask if we’ve ever looked
Ford told us about the Ford GT even before most of the company knew about it. Dan Greenawalt, Turn 10
at light weighting of CFD [complex fluid dynamics] and we’ll say: ‘no, how do you do it?’. We wouldn’t have known they worked on that from the outside, you can only find that out once you’ve been let in.” This month’s Forza 6 is the biggest game Turn 10 has ever built, with Greenawalt saying its line-up of 26 courses overtakes previous milestone set in Forza 4.
DAN GREENAWALT, TURN 10: INTERVIEW “We have 450 cars, and you can get in all the cars and open the door and drive in cockpit and damage them and customise them,” he says. “We have 26 environments and that’s the biggest game we have ever built. We’ve got a lot of numbers – it’s 1080p, 60 frames per second, 24 cars on track – numbers, numbers, numbers. To me, what’s important is the experiences that we can deliver with those numbers. 450 cars is a lot, but it’s the diversity of the cars that matters. You can have cool match-ups, cars that you never would expect to be against each other.” RACING REBIRTH It feels like there’s been a resurgence in the racing game space. New IPs such as DriveClub, The Crew and Project CARS have generated a lot of attention. But Greenawalt plays down this perceived renaissance. “People tend to look at too short an interval when they look for trends,” he says. “I’ve seen racing come and go and in a sense I don’t think it’s ever come or gone. It’s just been there. From one year to the next there are IPs that are coming and going and what have you. But game development takes two or three years and your shots aren’t always going to land. So when two things happen at the same time, we’re having a renaissance, when two things are in middevelopment, we’re in a drought. I don’t think it’s nearly as romantic as what people are saying when they’re going on about things getting big or going away. Racing is fairly constant.” Regardless, Turn 10 has a new rival in Project CARS, which is cut from the same simulation cloth as the Forza franchise. “We’re not at all worried about the competition. We’re first party. My goal is to make Xbox your home for racing,” Greenawalt explains. “So that means I work with the peripheral teams to make sure the wheels and triggers feel great. Project CARS and The Crew are both great. Having them on our platform is great. I don’t look at that as competition, I look at it as getting people excited about
My job is to make Xbox your home for racing games. Dan Greenawalt, Turn 10
cars. They’re actually doing my job for me.” Another games development in recent years has been the growth of eSports. Given that racing games have widespread and mainstream appeal, and are focused on competition, it’s a bit surprising that racing titles aren’t very big on the competitive gaming scene. “The interesting thing to look at is sports games, FIFA and Madden,” Greenawalt says. “You would think because it’s so fun to watch football matches on TV that it’d be fun to watch virtual football streaming on Twitch, and yet it’s not really the case. At the end of the day, do people want to watch the real version or the virtual version? The real version is always on and you can watch F1 over the weekend. “Here’s where I think this gets more interesting: There’s now a generation that’s being brought up watching Twitch as their primary form of getting entertainment, and that group is starting to get driver’s licences and starting to become more mainstream. Those things that we relegate to traditional, linear media are going to start to transition into this more digital space as the new, younger demographic comes in and just expects to be able to watch stuff on Twitch and doesn’t want to watch TV. They want to watch people like themselves.” And it might be this that could help define Forza’s next ten years.
September 11th 2015
UK tax breaks, a year on and that’s a promising start. The main thing to remember is games either qualify for tax breaks, or don’t. There’s no middle ground and no need to fret about hitting every requirement. Which brings me to...
Rebellion boss and TIGA chairman JASON KINGSLEY discusses what we’ve learned from the ﬁrst year with games development tax relief in the UK, and what comes next
A VERY BRITISH PROBLEM A requirement of the tax break that has caused the most confusion is the British cultural ‘test’; what exactly is a British game? How does this impact development? And should it? Take Rebellion’s Sniper Elite 3. We’d lose points for being set in North Africa, but gain points for having a lead character born in the EU (Germany), and for being set in World War II, a period of cultural significance to the UK. On top of this, we outsource very little, and all of our staff and leads are qualified to work in the EU. It should tick more than enough boxes. But the test hasn’t ruled-out games set in non real-world locations, in fact it openly acknowledges otherworldly locations can reflect British culture as much as ‘real’ ones. Importantly, the test doesn’t appear to have compromised developers’ visions by forcing
t’s almost hard to believe a year has passed since a decade of hard work delivered muchneeded tax breaks for the UK games industry. What we don’t want to do is rest on our laurels, so the past 12 months have given us time to take stock and analyse what’s worked, what hasn’t, and what we can do about it. NEWS FROM THE TRENCHES The good news is that the tax breaks are already starting to deliver; creating confidence and jobs. We’ve now got about 660 studios and just below 11,000 creative staff – that’s a record high - and recruitment agencies are telling TIGA that the decline in vacancies is now reversing. It may sound odd, but the fact that the growth hasn’t been a vertical line is a good thing – it suggests that the growth is steady and sensible, and not a flash in the pan, or at worst, a bubble. And it suggests the government got the breaks about right; not too generous, nor too stingy. Of course the most important thing is the impact on studios. Unlike France’s tax break for example, there’s no minimum project cost threshold, meaning that small bedroom devs have been some of the first to benefit, and the feedback I’ve had so far is that studios of all sizes are getting approved. Whilst there will always be edge cases, TIGA has not had anyone approach saying: “We were expecting to pass but didn’t”,
September 11th 2015
Our games are not packed full of cheeky cockneys and red double deckers as some had feared. Jason Kingsley, Rebellion
them down a certain design route – that would be the case of the tail wagging the dog – but instead encouraged them to frame the very culture that’s shaped their creations. Our games are still as thematically diverse as ever, and not packed full of cheeky cockneys and red double deckers as some may have feared. THE FUTURE But there’s still work to do. In particular Francophone games in Quebec still get significantly higher tax breaks than we do, there’s room for more support. Also, with the decrease in corporate tax rates - as unintuitive as this might sound - the value of the games tax relief decreases. So whilst lower general taxes are better for business and mean more tax is actually collected overall by a bigger economy, we may need to campaign to adjust the GTR level to keep it as effective. While the application process itself is less of a headache than many expected, it still involves plenty of legal speak that could confuse first time applicants. Feedback is telling us that once you’ve gone through the process, you’ll find subsequent applications that much easier, so it’s crucial we share best practices. Of course the historical pattern with any new tax break regulations means that eventually someone will try to bend the rules in their favour and that can, in extreme cases, risk jeopardising the tax breaks we all fought for. We need to be vigilant and learn from other creative industries that’ve seen their fair share of financial horror stories, suspicious third parties and dodgy offshore accounts. But let’s not colour this article the wrong way. The UK games industry is in improving health, and we should all be proud of it.
JAMES PATTEN INDIE INTERVIEW
Outnumbered, but never outgunned Its debut title Gunnihilation beat out the triple-A competition to win UK Game of the Show this year’s Gamescom, but can it live up to the hype? Alex Calvin catches up with Teeside-based developer Robo Pixel
here were many UK-made games at this year’s Gamescom. Blockbusters like Guitar Hero Live, Tearaway Unfolded and LEGO Dimensions are being developed on these fair shores. However, it wasn’t a triple-A behemoth that took away UKIE’s UK Game of the Show award from the event but instead a retro style pixel-themed local multiplayer shooter, from indie studio Robo Pixel, called Gunnihilation. “It was shocking. We were busy talking to someone at our stand, and the guys from UKIE came over and went ‘we need you over here for the presentation, we need you there now’,” art director James Batten recalls. “Then they did the presentation and we had no idea what was going on. It was interesting. But there are so many other really good UK-made games at the moment, we have no idea how we won it. We blame it on the people who voted for us drinking lots of German beer.” The team at Robo Pixel are all graduates from Teeside University. Some of them tried to form a studio in the past, but that fell through. Then two years ago – when Batten was working as a chef – the group decided to band back together to form a new company. One of the firm’s desires was to deliver a multiplayer game that didn’t require an internet connection. “Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, local multiplayer was the only way to play multiplayer games and it was great fun. We absolutely loved it,” he says. “Lately it has become more about online multiplayer, which
Gunnihilation won the UKIE UK Game of the Show at Gamescom 2015
is quite a good thing, but we’ve noticed recently that a lot of people have started getting back into local multiplayer. We really appreciate that. It’s much better to have that social interaction so that’s one of the reasons why we’re doing it. “The other reason is that online connectivity is an absolute pain and we’ve been thinking about doing it. We know how to implement it, but our game would play better in the room where you can communicate with the other players. That’s basically it.” He continues: “If you have the time and resources then online might be worth it, but a lot of games these days put in online multiplayer because it seems to be what everyone does. We’ve talked about it quite a lot, we think it’s completely unnecessary, for our game at least.” To fund itself, Robo Pixel turned to the Rivers Capital’s
We’ve talked about doing online multiplayer but it’s unnecessary. James Batten, Robo Pixel
Finance for Business North East Angel Fund rather than a publisher. “We were doing outsource work to sustain the company for a couple of different projects,” Batten says. “It just meant we couldn’t focus on the game. And another thing we’ve noticed is you can’t just turn up to a publisher and say ‘we have an idea’ – you’re not going to get very far. They must have thousands of people coming along every year pitching ideas with nothing to show. We figured if we could spend a few solid months working on the project and be able to provide a well-polished product we might be able to get a bit further. It seems to have been working pretty well.” Despite this finance, however, Baten and his team are still seeking a publisher. “It seems like the easiest thing in the world to start a games company and make a game, then put it on Steam or whatever. These days it’s easier than ever before. But the whole marketing side is something we have no idea about, which is exactly why we’re looking for a publisher,” he says. “We know roughly when we’re going to have the game finished, we know what we want to do with it, but when it comes to reaching the end goal, we don’t want to put it on Steam and it be just another game that gets swept under the rug because it had no marketing budget or they haven’t marketed it right. There’s so many obstacles.”
September 11th 2015
SHELF LIFE MCV speaks to Julian Slater of Macclesﬁeld’s Bits N Pieces about what he has planned for the launches of FIFA and Call of Duty: Black Ops III, and why online retail is something he is not interested in How has business been for you recently? The last two weeks have been very good with the slew of Christmas games starting. It’s been excellent. But the summer was terrible. It was just dead, I may as well have been sat here twiddling my thumbs. It was hard work. What’s been selling well? Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. I’ve been selling dozens.
It’ll be a tournament with the kids, we haven’t worked out the exact details. Hopefully I’ll be doing a Call of Duty multiplayer event in the lead up to Black Ops III, too. We have consoles in the stores so they’re fairly easy to set up.
And how have your hardware sales been? The last week the Xbox One and Gears of War bundle did really well – I can’t get enough in. And I’ve sold a few PS4s in the last week thanks to Metal Gear Solid V and Until Dawn.
What’s the competition like in your area? Actually not bad. We have a CEX here, which is annoying as it seems to make the prices up every day. Other than that it’s just the
Do you have any events planned for some of the bigger releases coming up? I’ve got a FIFA event planned, we’re just working out the bones of it.
PRICE CHECK: EDINBURGH
TOP 10 PRE-ORDERS 1. FIFA 16 EA, PS4
2. FIFA 16 Deluxe Edition + Pre-order DLC EA ................................................................................PS4
DESTINY SUPER MARIO WORLD 3D
3. FIFA 16 EA ...................................................................................XO 4. Call of Duty: Black Ops III + Beta Activision Blizzard ...............................................PS4
FORZA HORIZON 2
Nintendo, Wii U
9. DualShock 4 20th Anniversary Edition Sony............................................................................PS4
10. Super Mario Maker + Artbook and Amiibo Nintendo................................................................ Wii U
6. Fallout 4 Bethesda ..................................................................PS4
5. FIFA 16 Deluxe Edition + Pre-order DLC EA ...................................................................................XO
7. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection Sony............................................................................PS4
UPLOADING The latest digital releases coming to market
MIGHT & MAGIC HEROES VII
Ubisoft’s charming platformer is available for PS4 owners now
Ubisoft’s turn-based strategy series hits PC at the end of September
The open-world shooter is coming to PS4, Wii U, Vita and PC this month
September 11th 2015
8. Forza Motorsport 6 + Pre-order DLC Microsoft .....................................................................XO
OUT: SEPTEMBER 29TH
Bits N Pieces 21 Chestergate, Macclesﬁeld, Cheshire, SK11 6BX
big stores like Currys and Argos. We haven’t got a GAME in town so that’s quite nice. You have a website. Is online retail something you might consider in the future? No. It’s too competitive. The margins are so low you need to sell hundreds of thousands or you need to put the prices high and sell less, but then people will just say it’s cheaper on Amazon. It’s just not something that interests me.
T: 01625 615 616 E: info@bitsandpieces-macclesﬁeld.co.uk W: bitsandpieces-macclesfield.co.uk
Do you sell over any thirdparty retail sites like GAME Marketplace, Amazon or Ebay? We’ve used Amazon and Ebay in the past, but it’s not a big thing for me. It’s only when I’m really desperate to get rid of something. What’s been selling well on the retro side of things? Anything with Nintendo on it, pretty much. NES, SNES, N64, GameCube consoles have all been ﬂying out of the door.
WANT TO FEATURE YOUR OUTLET IN MCV? Contact email@example.com or call 01992 515 303
The toys-to-life market heats up at the end of September with Skylanders Superchargers and LEGO Dimensions launching within days of each other FORMAT
Super Mario Maker
01216 253 388
Destiny: The Taken King
01216 253 388
Forza Motorsport 6
01279 822 800
September 17th Rugby League Live 3
Sepember 18th Pro Evolution Soccer 2016
0121 625 3388
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2
The Golf Club Collector’s Edition
01256 385 200
01256 385 200
September 22nd Blood Bowl 2
September 24th Ether One
01902 861 527
01216 253 388
Tower of Guns
01902 861 527
01216 253 388
01216 253 388
September 25th Skylanders Superchargers
September 29th LEGO Dimensions
September 11th 2015
MARGIN MAKERS: MARIO
MARIO As Wii U exclusive Super Mario Maker leaps its way onto store shelves, Matthew Jarvis thought this would be a prime opportunity to look back at the classic franchise
MARIO: it’s a name that has defined the entire video games industry for decades, with no need for an introduction. Nintendo’s enduring franchise has long been the best-selling games brand ever created, with over half a billion units sold around the world. Birthed as a platformer, the IP has explored nearly every genre in existence – from the sports games like Mario Tennis and Gold, to RPGs such as Paper Mario.
Nintendo’s enduring icon has sold well over half a billion games worldwide.
Last year’s Mario Kart 8 propelled UK sales of the Wii U by over 660 per cent, with the console bundled with the game accounting for four-fifths of the units sold. Further afield, the racing title shifted 1.2 million copies in four days, becoming the best-selling game on the platform. It has since gone on to sell more than 5.43 million units globally – meaning that the title’s software attach rate is more than 50 per cent.
NINTENDO SUPER MARIO BROS RETRO BADGE PACK Mario die-hards can express their fondness for the Goomba-squishing Italian plumber with these four pin badges. Measuring 32mm, the badges all boast licensed high-resolution artwork and can be attached to clothes, bags or the collar of a pet Yoshi dinosaur, if they have one to hand. SRP: £2.99 Manufacturer: GB Posters Distributor: GB Eye Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
K’NEX LUIGI STANDARD BIKE BUILDING SET
SUPER MARIO BROS 2 NES COVER T-SHIRT
AMIIBO END LEVEL MODULAR DISPLAY STAND
Mario’s green-clad brother gets into the driving seat – literally – with this buildable K’Nex model.
Classic Mario fans can celebrate one of the character’s more unusual outings with this throwback T-shirt.
This customisable stand is designed so that Amiibo fans can showcase their entire Super Mario toy collection.
SRP: £7.99 Manufacturer: K’Nex Distributor: Tomy UK Contact: 01271 336 155
SRP: £14.99 Manufacturer: Bioworld Distributor: Gaming Merchandise UK Contact: email@example.com
SRP: £23 Manufacturer: PowerA Distributor: ILT Distribution Contact: 0845 519 7053
September 11th 2015
MARGIN MAKERS: MARIO Sponsored by
gaming merchandise uk
This year has already seen the launch of several Mario spin-offs, including puzzler Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker and platformer Yoshi’s Woolly World. Multiplayer game Mario Party saw its tenth instalment, which brought the series’ sales since its debut in 1999 to almost 40 million. Mario has even popped up in other franchises, such as Puzzle & Dragons. Although much of Mario’s strength lies in its various sequels
and spin-offs this month sees the release of a unique Mario title. For the first time, Super Mario Maker will allow players to create their own levels in a variety of styles from the last 30 years. With Super Mario Maker appealing to nostlagic Mario fans (and non-nostalgic fans, too, as New Super Mario Bros is also present), there’s never been a better time to stock merchandise celebrating the gaming icon’s industry-defining success.
MARIO SKIN AND FILTER SET FOR WII U Containing a skin for the Wii U Game Pad, as well as four smaller skins for Wii Remotes – this colourful pack will help gamers spruce up their controllers. Each Wii Remote skin features a diﬀerent Mario character, while the Game Pad cover showcases Mario alongside Luigi, Yellow Toad and Blue Toad. Also included in the set is a screen ﬁlter for the Wii U Game Pad, which will safeguard against scratches. SRP: £9.99 Manufacturer: Hori Distributor: Hori Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
SUPER MARIO SERIES FOR EASY PIANO
SUPER MARIO MAGIKOOPA SOFT TOY
SUPER MARIO SUPER STAR CANDIES
34 iconic piano arrangements from across the Mario franchise ﬁll this book for lovers of video game music.
One of Super Mario’s most notorious and tricky enemies, this plush Magikoopa stands seven inches high.
They might be shaped like the Super Star, but these sweets don’t grant invincibility. (We know, we tried).
SRP: £14.99 Manufacturer: Alfred Distributor: Alfred Contact: email@example.com
SRP: £14.99 Manufacturer: Sanei Distributor: Five Element Distribution Contact: info@ﬁveelementdistribution.co.uk
SRP: £2.99 Manufacturer: Boston America Distributor: Boston America Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
September 11th 2015
HOT PRODUCTS MCV takes a look at the best accessories heading to UK retail. This week, PowerA brings its Star Wars controllers from a galaxy far, far away and we listen out for Gioteck’s new wired headset
POWERA STAR WARS XBOX ONE CONTROLLERS STAR WARS fanatics eagerly awaiting the release of Battlefront and Episode VII: The Force Awakens can show oﬀ their love for the iconic sci-ﬁ franchise with these themed game pads. The controllers are dual licensed by both Microsoft and LucasArts, and feature a range of iconic characters from the original trilogy of the epic ﬁlm franchise. Included are exclusive designs based on robot companions R2-D2 and C-3PO, as well as baddies Darth Vader and Boba Fett, plus Vader’s Stormtrooper lackeys. The pads retain the trademark improvements of the standard Xbox One controller, such as dual rumble motors for vibration feedback,
impulse triggers and fully analogue face buttons. The wire that connects the controllers to the Xbox One machine is a 9.8-foot in-line release cable, which means it will automatically disconnect when yanked – avoiding possible damage to the console and the user if they trip over the lead.
[INFO] RRP: $49.99 (£32) Release Date: October 1st Distributor: ILT Distribution Contact: 0845 519 7053
GIOTECK FL-200 WIRED STEREO HEADSET ACCESSORIES ﬁrm Gioteck has come up with a headset speciﬁcally designed to give users a comfortable listening experience while playing games. The FL-200 wired headset has a three-way adjustable lightweight and cushioned headband, plus earcups that can rotate by up to 180 degrees, allowing players to adjust for improved comfort. Cooling ear foam lies inside each of the earcups, which are intended to reduce heat during long gameplay sessions. The entire peripheral can be folded and condensed to a far smaller footprint when not in use, which makes it easier to store or take away. Users can select from a number of bright colour schemes for the
September 11th 2015
FL-200 headset, including green, blue and black. A retractable noise-cancelling microphone protrudes from one side of the headset. The device is plug-and-play compatible for chat and game audio on PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac and PlayStation Vita. Wired in-line controls are built into the device’s cable, letting gamers quickly adjust volume on-the-ﬂy.
[INFO] RRP: £49.99 Release Date: October 1st Distributor: Gioteck Contact: email@example.com
WE’RE BACK AT INDIGO2! The Golden Joystick Awards are BACK, will be broadcast live online, and this year presented by author and comedian DANNY WALLACE.
LIMITED NUMBER OF TABLES DON’T MISS OUT!
The Golden Joystick Awards celebrate the very best in the gaming industry and are the only annual awards voted for by gamers, garnering over nine million votes last year. The Venue Now in its 33rd year, the awards ceremony will return to London’s IndigO2 with a three-course meal provided by the award-winning Gaucho restaurant. Industry Afterparty The exclusive afterparty complete with live entertainment will be held at one of London’s hottest and most sought after party locations, the Brooklyn Bowl in the O2 Arena.
Table sales are now open for the greatest gaming event on the planet! A table for 12 people is just £4,320 which includes: – Champagne reception – Three-course meal provided by the award-winning Gaucho restaurant – Golden Joysticks Awards ceremony – Entry to awards afterparty
Friday 30th October 2015
To book tables or explore sponsorship opportunities please contact Andrew Church on firstname.lastname@example.org
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FLUID is an award-winning creative agency launched in 1995 which oﬀers innovative and engaging creative for some of the largest entertainment brands in the world. Fluid is not only our name, but also our branding philosophy. We embrace the changing media landscape with a ﬂexible, reactive approach enabled by a rich pool of outstanding talent from a wide range of artistic disciplines. At every stage of the creative process we guarantee ﬂexible, comprehensive creative solutions that bear testament to the breadth of our experience and versatility of style. We live by our ethos ‘never not creating’ to ensure that every project we undertake beneﬁts from an ingrained passion and cultural knowledge, earning Fluid a renowned reputation for consistently evolving creativity.
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INSIDER’S GUIDE KISS LTD
WHO? Specialism: Publishing Location: Suite F, Ground Floor, Breakspear Park, Breakspear Way, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 4TZ
Develop is the only dedicated publication for the UK and European games development community. It reaches over 300,000 subscribers every month.
Indie publisher Kiss Ltd is on the up-and-up. Dave Clark, head of marketing, reveals all
FOR GREAT ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITIES, CONTACT CHARLOTTE NANGLE CNANGLE@NBMEDIA.COM
Tell us about your company. Established almost three years ago, Kiss Ltd was the ﬁrst publisher to specialise in helping indie devs bring their digital PC games to market. We strive to make that process as simple, painless and proﬁtable as possible. With the key players in the ﬁrm all having corporate games backgrounds, we’ve witnessed ﬁrst hand how bureaucracy can make simple processes extremely complicated.
THIS MONTH’S DIRECTORY SPOTLIGHT: MHT TV GAME................................................................. email@example.com
What successes have you seen recently? Over the last 12 months, Kiss has launched over 70 titles we have over 100 titles listed on Steam - and have enjoyed success across a number of key areas: Games such as Lucius, Lifeless Planet and Cricket Captain 2015 have gone on to enjoy signiﬁcant sales. Rising World, Project Nimbus and Gear City were launched on to Early Access and are already commercial successes. What are you working on? Between now and the end of 2015, Kiss will launch around 20 new indie games. Currently, we are very excited about our next Early Access game All Guns on Deck and a title called Dark Years, our ﬁrst title from Iran covering the Iranian revolution. What are the biggest trends aﬀecting you right now? This is an industry that is forever To be included in the Develop Directory (which appears every month in Develop and now every week in MCV) contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We are excited about our ﬁrst title from Iran called Dark Years. David Clark, KISS
re-inventing itself. The major current trends include, VR, AR, monetisation models and the rise of a new order – out with the traditional industry powerhouses, in with the new. But the things that ﬂoat our boat are far more down to earth. We are exited by the degree of creativity we are witnessing in the indie sector, plus the ever-expanding list of countries these studios are from. How did you choose your company name? Kiss stems from our founder’s names (King and Still) but also reﬂects a gentle touch to working for indie developers.
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September 11th 2015
FACTFILE JAMAICA Sponsored by
INTERNATIONAL FACTFILE: JAMAICA Population: 2,889,187 Capital City: Kingston Currency: Dollar GDP (Per Capita): $5,657 KEY RETAILERS Str8 Games, Press Play, Watts New, Game Repair & Accessories, Royale Computers
TOP DEVELOPERS Project Grapevine, Island Interactive Studios
TOP DISTRIBUTORS NC Games
NOTABLE GAMES FIRMS WITH A LOCAL OFFICE Microsoft, Sony
JAMAICA’S games industry is a passionate but small one, struggling to keep up with the wider global market. The region’s games industry is among the smallest in the world, failing to chart on Newzoo’s rankings of the top 100 countries in terms of games revenue. However, games are highly popular, with many media outlets and retailers dedicated to the sector. In 2011, a TV channel attempted to boost the presence of local games industry with The Lab: Video Game TV. But, the show was axed in 2013. That hasn’t halted efforts to encourage growth in games. “Games development is never going away,” Professor Joseph Saulter, founder and CEO of design and development firm Entertainment Arts Research Incorporated, observed while speaking at the first Digital Game Design and Development Conference at the Caribbean
Institute of Media and Communication last year. The small number of games to come out of the region are mobile titles. These include arcade release TapKat Fiesta from Island Interactive, one of the more prominent efforts to emanate from the region. But, it only garnered around 50 downloads in its first three months on sale, as it struggled to compete in the global marketplace. One of the major problems facing the country is a lack of technological infrastructure. Many of its inhabitants are computer illiterate and lack internet access, according to Gordon Swaby, the CEO of educational firm EduFocal. Mobile devs looking to monetise their of free-to-play games is the absence of a unified banking system – micro-transactions are impossible without convoluted payment processes and potentially high charges.
One of the major problems facing Jamaica is a lack of technological infrastructure.
September 11th 2015
MEANWHILE IN... MALAYSIA Publisher Ubisoft is opening a theme park in the region
ASSASSIN’S Creed publisher Ubisoft has announced its intentions to open a theme park in Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur. The attraction has been given an opening date of 2020 and the ﬁrm claims it will be 10,000 square metres in size.
“Ubisoft’s intention for this park is to immerse people in reactive worlds where they can interact with each other and become the heroes of their own life-sized game,” said Ubisoft Motion Pictures SVP, Jean de Rivières.
“Malaysia is the secondmost-visited country in Asia [citing a 2014 report by the World Tourism Organization]. There is room for multiple projects to take root in the region and a growing middle class with an increasing income and appetite for entertainment.”
September 11th 2015
BENELUX TERRITORY REPORT Sponsored by
Territory Report: Benelux Benelux is fast becoming a global games powerhouse, with its fruitful online services attracting a variety of firms and funding to the territorial trinity. Matthew Jarvis looks at the ‘lux
ith power in both traditional console space and newer flourishing sectors such as mobile, Benelux is a force to be reasoned with in the European games industry. The region’s most noteworthy triple-A developer, Amsterdambased Guerilla Games, made a huge splash at this year’s E3, with both Horizon Zero Dawn and competitive virtual reality shooter RIGS unveiled upon the global games stage. The firm’s Shadowfall Engine was additionally harnessed by UK studio Supermassive for its newlyreleased horror title Until Dawn. In comparison to its Belgian and Luxembourgish neighbours, the Netherlands is by far the flagbearer for the Beneluxian games industry. In fact, the country is among the biggest games markets in the whole of Europe. Earlier this year four studios in the Netherlands were awarded a grant of €500,000 – 14.7 per cent of the total €3.5m (£2.6m) budget – from the Creative Europe programme. It marks a huge change from 2014, when none of the seven Dutch developers were approved for the grant. As a mark of the region’s thriving sector, it shared first place with the UK in terms of the highest amount raised. SERIOUS BUSINESS Commenting upon the country’s success, local industry organisation the Dutch Games Association observed that the adventure genre is especially popular among development firms, with most focusing on PC and mobile platforms. Although the games industry in Benelux shares many similarities with that of the UK, as consumers
15 per cent of games revenue worldwide, they contribute half of all industry revenue in the Netherlands. This makes such titles as commercially viable as ‘non-serious’ genres such as shooter, racing, platformer and strategy titles.
flock to the latest Call of Duty and FIFA console offerings each year, a portion of the region’s development scene has carved out a niche of its own. Alongside big hitting triple-A studios such as Guerrilla and indie darlings like Vlambeer, the creator of Luftrausers and Nuclear Throne, there are myriad studios across the territory investing in the creation of ‘serious’ games: for example, simulator titles designed for training surgeons and firefighters. One of the most notable serious games studios is Grendel Games, which designed the surgical
ONLINE OBSESSION Luxembourg has long been a haven for online games firms, with OnLive, Nexon, Kabam and Valve all setting up shop in the country over the last five years.
This is likely driven by the region’s geographical placement – cloud service provider EBRC claims that 70 per cent of Europe’s GDP is located within a radius of less than 700km from Luxembourg – as well as the local government’s continued investment in the sector. Digital retailers were assisted further by the country’s low three per cent VAT rate, which was
43% Just under half of the Dutch population plays games daily coaching game Underground. It joins virtual training sim developer E-Semble and V-Step, which specialises in titles built to recreate the harsh seafaring conditions of dredgers. Belgium and the Netherlands are especially prosperous for serious games. To demonstrate the regions’ fondness for the genre compared to the rest of the global games market, the Innovation Taskforce for the Utrecht Region set up to identify and promote local specialities estimates that, while serious games account for
September 11th 2015
TERRITORY REPORT BENELUX
countered in early 2015 by the closing of a legal loophole. It seems that Luxembourg’s online enthusiasm is contagious among its adjoining nations. Research firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) believes that social games are the most-regularlyplayed type of title in the Netherlands, with almost half (43 per cent) of consumers playing daily. This contrasts the comparatively unpopular console platforms, which see one in ten gamers play every day and less than a third (28 per cent) play multiple times a month. PC, meanwhile, sees a fifth (21 per cent) of players return every day – twice that of console. MOBILE MAGIC Mobile is another sector seeing major success in Benelux – but its triumph isn’t solely limited to smartphones and tablets. Some of the territory’s online players are transitioning to mobile as the sector begins to explode. As recently as last year, one of the biggest online games networks in the region, Spil Games, made 90 of its 240 full-time employees redundant in an effort to doubledown on mobile titles. It’s easy to see why: PwC states that more than a third of gamers in the country have invested in additional in-game content, such as in-app purchases, at least once, with a fifth regularly buying extra add-ons. The Netherlands may be pushing the modern face of mobile forwards but, next door, Belgium’s mobile sector is hampered by the trend of consumers yet to upgrade to a newer phone. Research firm Newzoo reports that Belgium is home to the largest Western market for nonsmartphone mobile games, with three in ten consumers using such devices – a figure Newzoo ascribes to the pricey cost of mobile internet compared to other European countries. This has resulted in the
September 11h 2015
region lagging behind in terms of iOS and Android uptake and success; Belgium is the 19th-biggest country in terms of App Store revenue, ahead of Austria and Switzerland. Although its mobile income may wilt in the face of modern trends,
THE FACTS INFO Members: Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg Population: 28,536,867 Currency: Euro GDP (Per Capita): $48,359 Administrative Centre: Brussels (Belgium) Languages: Dutch, French
Digital retails were assisted by the three per cent VAT rate, which was countered in early 2015.
KEY RETAILERS Gameshop, Media Markt, Game Mania, Bart Smit, Electro Viaduc, Saturn, Bol. com, Intertoys, Nedgamer, Coin BD, Pixmania, Player One, Carrefour, Free Record Shop, La Caverne Du Gobelin, Domino, Le Réservoi
Belgium’s traditional games retail has prospered. Newzoo believes that half of the country’s gamers are happy to pay for games, spending on average $13.10 (£8.53) a month – making Belgian consumers the third-biggest monthly spenders behind just the UK and France.
KEY DISTRIBUTORS Koch Media, Big Ben Interactive Benelux, CLD Distribution, Spil Games, Level03 Distribution, Micromedia, Game World TOP DEVELOPERS Vlambeer, Guerilla Games, Ronimo, Sticky, Vanguard Games, Kabam, Larian Studios, Engine Software, WeirdBeard, Abbey Games, Codeglue, Triumph Studios, Tale of Tales, LuGus Studios, V-Step LOCAL PUBLISHERS EA, Ubisoft, Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, 2K Games, Two Tribes
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GLOBAL DISTRIBUTORS IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR NEW PARTNERS OVERSEAS, THEN LOOK NO FURTHER
CLD DISTRIBUTION Rue du Grand Champs 14 , B 5380 Fernelmont Belgium Tel: +32 81 83 02 02 Fax: +32 81 83 02 09 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.cld.be home of www.dragonwar.eu & www.mawashi.eu
G3 GREAT GAMES LTD 4 Gregoriou Papaﬂessa Street, Oﬃce 101, Engomi, Nicosia 2414, Cyprus. Tel: +357 22 666612 Web: www.greatgames.com.cy
GAME OUTLET EUROPE AB PO Box 5083, S-650 05 Karlstad, Sweden Sales dept: email@example.com Sales dept: firstname.lastname@example.org Purchase dept: email@example.com Purchase dept: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.gameoutlet.se
BRAZIL Sony Music Entertainment Brasil # 1 Physical Distributor in Brazil Rua Lauro Muller n°. 116 – 40°. Andar Salas 4001 a 4003 Botafogo Rio de Janeiro RJ CEP. 22.290-160 Tel. +55 21 2128-0771 Fax: +55 21 2128-0747 Email : email@example.com Website: www.sonymusic.com.br | www.day1e.com.br
DC GAMES GROUP No.9, Hemmatian St., Takestan St., Sattarkhan Tehran, Iran Tel: +98-912-1014090 +98-21-44228670 Email: Bahizad@Doostan-Co.com Web: www.Doostan-Co.com
ALESAYI UNITED COMPANY Video Games Distributor in the Middle East, P.O BOX 16999 Jebel Ali Free Zone Dubai U.A.E. Tel: 00971 4 883 5960 Fax: 00971 4 883 5175 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org U.A.E. Website: www.alesayi.ae Group Website: www.alesayi.com
WENDROS AB SWEDEN, NORWAY, DENMARK & FINLAND Jakobsdalsvägen 17 12653 Hägersten Sweden Phone: +46 8 51942500 Fax: +46 8 7466790 Email: HM@wendros.se LM@wendros.se Web: www.wendros.se
CLICK ENTERTAINMENT LIMITED Email: email@example.com Web: www.click-entertainment.com Phone: +44 (0)203 137 3781
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MORE DISTRIBUTORS AUSTRALIA AFA Interactive, Bluemouth Interactive, Five Star Games, Mindscape, Namco Bandai Partners, Turn Left Distribution BENELUX CLD Distribution, Koch Media, Gameworld Distribution B.V. CANADA E One, Importel, Just4Games, Solutions 2 Go, Vidéoglobe CYPRUS Access, Gibareio, Zilos, Nortec Multimedia CZECH REPUBLIC Cenega, Conquest, Comgad, Playman, ABC Data DENMARK Bergsala, Elpa, Impulse, Koch Media, Nordisk Film Interactive, Nordic Game Supply, PAN Vision FRANCE Big Ben, Innelec, Koch Media, SDO, Sodifa GREECE Zegatron, CD Media, Namco Bandai Partners, IGE, Nortec, Enarxis, Beacon HUNGARY CNG.hu/Cenega Hungary, CTC Trading, Magnew, PlayON, Stadlbauer ICELAND Sena, Myndform, Samfilm, Ormsson INDONESIA Maxsoft, Uptron, Technosolution IRELAND MSE Group, Baumex JAPAN Ajioka, Happinet, Jesnet NORWAY Bergsala, Game Outlet, Koch Media, Nordic Game Supply, Nordisk Film, Pan Vision POLAND CD Projekt, Cenega, Galapagos, LEM PORTUGAL Ecoplay, Infocapital, Koch Media, Namco Bandai ROMANIA Best Distribution SERBIA ComTrade, Computerland/Iris Mega, Extreme CC SPAIN Digital Bros, Koch Media, Namco Bandai Partners, Nobilis SWEDEN Bergsala, Koch Media, Namco Bandai, Nordic Game Supply, PAN Vision, Wendros, Ztorm (digital) UAE Red Entertainment Distribution, Pluto Games (LS2 Pluto), Viva Entertainment, Gameplay Entertainment, Geekay Distribution
TO ADVERTISE IN THIS SECTION PLEASE CONTACT CTALLON@NBMEDIA.COM www.mcvuk.com
September 11th 2015
OFF THE RECORD
OFF THE RECORD This week, GAME gives a (bionic) hand to the launch of MGS5, GamesAid takes a dip for dosh and the V&A proves that games ARE art MGS FIVE, ALIVE! If you hadn’t noticed, Metal Gear Solid V was released last week. Fans were excited – to say the least. To celebrate Snake’s sneaky return to TV screens across the nation, Konami UK asked gamers to show their dedication by tweeting pictures of their attendance of midnight openings. 20 GAME stores opened at the stroke of midnight, with fans turning up dressed as Venom Snake himself, equipped with plush buddy D-Dog, and infamous baddie Psycho Mantis. There was also a completely notsuspicious-at-all cardboard box, which just randomly appeared. No idea.
MAKING WAVES GamesAid continues to inspire people to throw themselves into all sorts of impressive and terrifying feats in the name of charity. The latest fundraiser to raise both cash and cheers was Dominic Mason, who on Sunday, September 6th – a day most people would choose to lie in and maybe read the paper – chose instead to swim 10 kilometres down the River Dart in Devon. Dominic raised £25 and serious kudos for his eﬀort. You can still donate at www.justgiving.com/DomMason. If you’re a GamesAid member, you can now vote on the charities the organisation will donate to this year via the member’s area at www.gamesaid.org/member-login. Non-members in the industry can register for free – so you have no reason not to get involved.
September 11th 2015
OFF THE RECORD
SIX DEGREES OF SIMON COWLEY
PUSH MY BUTTONS Cultural keystone and home of all that is hip and happening, London’s Victoria and Albert museum played host to a showcase of radical video game design on Friday, August 28th. From big hitters such as eSports through to niche curiosities and innovative movements such as expressive altgames, the Pushing Buttons event ﬁlled one of the V&A’s Friday Late schedule slots. Among those showing oﬀ their aesthetic sensibilites was developer State of Play, which showed oﬀ beautiful wood and paper recreations of its worlds from Lumino City. Meanwhile, Wild Rumpus created a playable arcade in the Medieval and Renaissance galleries ﬁlled with independent multiplayer titles. It might just be us, but we’re pretty sure this closes the book on whether games can be art.
HOW DO KEVIN AND COWLEY CONNECT? WE TAKE A TRIP THROUGH THE WORLDS OF STAR WARS AND BATMAN TO FIND OUT…
KEVIN BACON was attached to perpetually troubled animated ﬁlm The Magic 7 alongside...
...JAMES EARL JONES, the voice of Darth Vader from the original Star Wars ﬁlms. He found his cinematic son in...
...MARK HAMILL, best known recently for his work as the voice of The Joker in the Batman: Arkham series of games...
...which were directed by Rocksteady’s SEFTON HILL. The games were published by Warner Bros...
...whose international PR is handled by CAT CHANNON...
...who worked alongside SIMON COWLEY at WildStar ﬁrm NCSoft.
September 11th 2015
OFF THE RECORD
Arthur Kimes @ComradeArthur
Stooie J @therealjaxon360
Captain N @Captain_N64
IF YOU WERE STUCK IN A DESERT WORLD GONE TO HELL, HOW WOULD YOU MOD YOUR CAR? #MADMAX #GMGASKS
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Samus Kail @BaykdBeans
Matt Gardner @FuzzyPixels
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ISSN: 1469-4832 Copyright 2015
THE RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD Charlotte Knight GAME
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Jennifer Johnson Don McCabe Shop Direct CHIPS
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Dermot Stapleton Niall Lawlor GameStop Get Games
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September 11th 2015
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