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THE BUSINESS OF VIDEO GAMES ISSUE 856 FRIDAY NOVEMBER 13TH 2015

RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER HAS CONVINCED ME TO BUY AN XBOX ONE VG247

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EXCLUSIVE 2015


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THE BUSINESS OF VIDEO GAMES ISSUE 856 FRIDAY NOVEMBER 13TH 2015

THE HOTTEST TITLES AND THEIR MERCHANDISE THIS Q4

Retail banks on blockbusters as sales stumble Buyers optimistic that November can deliver a bumper payday by Christopher Dring CALL OF DUTY, Fallout and Star Wars Battlefront must deliver if UK games retail is to turn around a difficult 2015. According to GfK Chart-Track data, physical UK game sales are down 8.5 per cent so far this year. October was a particular disappointment, with sales slumping 24 per cent compared with 2014. But the real challenge has been in the console space. UK stores tell MCV that console sales are down by almost 20 per cent this year. “It’s a real worry, all the estimations at the start of the year was that 2015 would be one of growth,” reminded one head of games at a major UK retailer. “The big games are launching later than usual, and we’re banking a lot on Black Ops III, Fallout

4 and Star Wars Battlefront to deliver the revenue.” His opinion echoes that of GAME CEO Martyn Gibbs, who told MCV: “If you look at the release schedule year-on-year, we had Destiny and Shadow of Mordor come out earlier in 2014. This year we have Battlefield, Call of Duty and Fallout in November, so the way we’ve expected things to phase is that September and October would be softer, and November stronger.”

Black Ops III launched on Friday to solid - if unspectacular - results (at least by Call of Duty standards). The physical UK games market generated £50m last week, according to GfK Chart-Track, and one games store told MCV that software sales alone could hit £250m this month.

Over 40 indies braced for first London games market by Matthew Jarvis A market dedicated to selling retro games and merchandise takes place this weekend, and the organisers expect it to give a huge boost to retailers. London Gaming Market is set for Sunday, November 15th at the Royal National Hotel in Russell Square London, and will return on April 3rd, 2016, too. More than 40 retailers have signed up to exhibit.

Shoppers at London Gaming Market don’t have to fight through a large event to find the stores. Andy Brown, London Gaming Market

Organiser Andy Brown says that although he’s not expecting Comic Con-sized attendance, he anticipates it will be a more lucrative event for stores. “We are offering a single day shopping experience, both for retailers and customers, without the overheads of a multi-day event,” Brown told MCV. “We don’t anticipate the same visitor numbers as other gaming events. However, every single

person who attends the London Gaming Market is there for just one reason – to spend – so retailers should experience a much better return on the cost of attending, and shoppers don’t have to battle their way through a large event to find the stores.” London Gaming Market is primarily focused on retro software and hardware, as well as tabletop games and tie-in products.

PLUS BLACK FRIDAY IN NUMBERS „ MEET THE NEW XBOX ONE


NEWS

Take-Two: ‘GTA Online success won’t change our strategy’ Publisher vows to continue releasing five to ten big physical games a year, despite digital revenue boom by Christopher Dring TAKE-TWO CEO Strauss Zelnick says the publisher will continue to launch multiple triple-A boxed games a year, despite the rapid growth of its digital business. For its second financial quarter, Take-Two revealed that 39 per cent of its revenue comes from digital content – primarily driven by Grand Theft Auto Online. The multiplayer mode of the two-year-old title is still generating millions of dollars every single month via micro-transactions. Yet Zelnick says this hasn’t changed the firm’s strategy, and there will be no reduction in the number of big games coming from its studios. “We need to be there for the consumer, we need to meet the consumer’s interest,” he told MCV. “World of Warcraft shows that there are certain titles with a persistent world that can generate

GTA Online significantly boosted TakeTwo’s revenue

engagement and therefore revenue for long periods of time. But that’s a very different model to our model. “We aren’t blessed by having that IP here, and we are still operating based on building very significant, exciting high-quality releases and then continuing to engage with titles after release. I wouldn’t rule out a change in that

It’s potentially damaging to put out a big array of moderatequality titles. Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two

Microsoft sees Xbox One controller sales spike in 2015 MICROSOFT’S first-party controller revenue has shot up by two-thirds during 2015, according to GfK Chart-Track. The news follows the release of the premium Xbox One Elite Controller, which launched in late October for £120 and quickly sold out across the US and UK. Microsoft has said stock will remain in short supply until next month. GfK Chart-Track says Xbox One controller revenue has risen 65.5 per cent year-to-date. Sony has also enjoyed a sales upturn, with DualShock 4 revenue up 23.2 per cent. Up until June 2015, the DualShock 4’s average

November 13th 2015

sees Microsoft turn the tables to become the more expensive first-party controller,” said Chart-Track’s Chris Poole.

selling price was £9.82 higher than Microsoft’s pad. But that has now changed. “The recent launch of the new Xbox One Elite Controller

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business model over time. Lord knows our business model round here has changed materially in the last five years. We have to be where the consumer is. But, right now, still making new iterations of existing franchises and creating new IP will continue to be our model for some time to come.” When asked if the number of gamers still playing titles like GTA Online so long after launch is potentially damaging for the overall games business, Zelnick answered: “It’s potentially damaging if your strategy is to put out a big array of moderate-quality titles, and there are companies who have that strategy. “Our strategy, ever since we took over the company, has been a limited number of the highestquality releases. Even if that means we need to postpone putting something out, even though we don’t like to, in order to achieve high quality. Everytime we do that, we’re gratified by the results.”

Digital Spy editor joins Hello Games MATTHEW REYNOLDS, Digital Spy’s popular gaming editor, has moved to No Man’s Sky studio Hello Games. Reynolds will serve as communications manager, handling press, PR and marketing. He joined Digital Spy in 2008 as a reporter before his promotion to gaming editor in 2010.

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NEWS

THE EDITOR

Excalibur cuts back on sims and eyes console business by Alex Calvin PUBLISHING label Excalibur is considerably cutting back on its simulation business as it invests more into its own IP. The firm is well-known for its sim games, such as Euro Truck Simulator, but it has faced challenges from selfpublished rivals. “The simulation market for us has dried up and we’ve needed to work out what we are going to do to generate revenue going forward,” Excalibur marketing boss Richard Barclay told MCV. “Being in charge of our own IP is really the way forward.” He continued: “There’s been a lack of good licensable simulation

titles. It’s very expensive to think of a niche in the simulation market and then develop it. “Also, the products that we are bringing to the market, which we are now funding ourselves, aren’t simulation titles, apart from World Ship Simulator.” In addition, the publisher has games coming to PlayStation 4. Excalibur has been granted worldwide publisher status by Sony, and currently has six titles headed to the console. “We don’t want to be just beholden to PC publishing sales for the rest of the term,” Barclay explained. “We’re not looking at Xbox at the moment, but we have six products coming to PS4 digitally and physically.”

CONSUMERS WON’T TOLERATE ONLINE FAILURE

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t’s been a rough ol’ time for game consumers. If bug-ridden titles and huge patches aren’t sapping away their energies, it’s retailers that can’t even get them their game on time. This isn’t just aimed at GAME’s recent pre-order woes. Not all of its recent issues have been its fault (I can’t hardly blame it for that hijacked lorry of Splatoon special editions) and it isn’t the only online retailer to have let consumers down this year. Just ask anyone that tried preordering Amiibo toys during the first few months of 2015. It’s not been an entirely happy 12 months for games retail. This was meant to be a year where the physical market returned to growth, but so far it’s been one of decline. That could all change this month and next, particularly with a late onslaught of triple-A launches. But it’s imperative that the gremlins in the systems whether it’s to do with payment, deliveries or communication are fixed – and urgently. When digital is becoming more affordable, convenient and reliable, online physical stores cannot afford these negative headlines - no matter who is to blame.

Shoppe Keep is Excalibur’s latest new IP

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ACTIVISION INVESTS IN GAMES The last 18 months for Activision have been a time of almost reinvention. It wasn’t that long ago that the firm was all about ‘billion-dollar bets’. The company cut back its smaller releases to focus on Call of Duty, Skylanders and eventually - Destiny. It made the publisher commercially strong, but also, well, a bit boring.

MICROSOFT

EA EA Sega Bandai Namco Sony

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A Skylanders TV show is just what the franchise needs to compete. Yet there has been a welcome change at Activision in recent years. It began with the return of Sierra last year - a division designed to publish smaller, indie-sized titles based on classic IP. Then came the return of Guitar Hero, an entire division dedicated to eSports and, in the last two weeks, the $5.9bn acquisition of King and the launch of a movie studio. These aren’t tentative moves, either. Guitar Hero isn’t just a modern reskinning of the previous game - but a real reinvention of the formulae. The eSports division is filled with talent from the real world of sport. $5.9bn is eye-watering, and immediately makes Activision a mobile super-power. And the movie studio is a real change of pace for Activision which has often made games based on films, but has vocally refused to send its IP in the other direction. A Skylanders TV show is just what the IP needs in the face of fierce competition from Disney and LEGO, while a COD movie is long overdue. After several years of raking in the cash but doing very little with it, Activision is investing in the future of games. And that’s reassuring to see. cdring@nbmedia.com

November 13th 2015


THE NEW XBOX ONE

The Xbox strikes back It’s been two years since the Xbox One launched and the machine has changed a great deal in that time. As Microsoft is rolling out the biggest revisions to the console to date, Alex Calvin catches up with UK marketing boss Harvey Eagle to talk backwards compatibility, its Elite range and the platform holder’s Q4 plans

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or all the criticism the Xbox One has received, it is evident that Microsoft is willing to listen to the fans and change its hardware to reflect what players want. From ditching its digital-only strategy to removing Kinect from the package, Xbox has responded to the demands of its fans. It’s still listening, too. This month, Microsoft is introducing a new UI to the Xbox One. It’s bringing in cross platform play with Windows 10. It’s even targeting pro-gaming with its premium and customisable Elite Controller. That’s not all, either. Perhaps its most intriguing change is adding backwards compatibility functionality, allowing gamers to play 360 titles on their Xbox One. Within weeks, the Xbox One will almost feel like a completely new console. “We are on an on-going journey to listen to what fans want on how to make Xbox the very best place to play,” UK marketing director Harvey Eagle says. “From Day One we’ve been on that path, making improvements all along the way. This is the next part of that evolution of the console. It’s something we were committed to throughout the life of Xbox 360 as well. We’re just carrying on that ethos of listening to what fans want and bringing it to them as quickly as possible.” Backwards compatibility was revealed at E3 this year, and was arguably the most surprising announcement to come out of Microsoft’s media briefing. Gamers will be able to play around 100 360 titles on their Xbox One on

November 13th 2015

at E3 when we announced it and saw the genuine response and surprise from the audience. It will prove popular, it’s a great value message for a 360 owner who is considering making a move to the new consoles.”

Microsoft is rolling out a new UI for the Xbox One

launch. Suddenly, that console is looking more enticing for the many 360 gamers who are yet to upgrade to the new machines. “There’s a lot of people who actively use their Xbox 360s in the UK that haven’t yet moved to the newer machines,” Eagle says. “Backwards compatibility is one of several reasons why Xbox One is an incredibly appealing console for this Christmas. For a 360 owner, it is an especially appealing feature because it enables them to play the games they already own at no additional cost. This Christmas is really the time for them to make that move.” The firm’s announcement of backwards compatibility was met with screaming crowds in the room, and received plaudits from the media. But there were some naysayers – including PlayStation’s European boss Jim Ryan, who said that though backwards compatibility is a much-requested feature, it’s not actually greatly used. “It’s what the fans have told us that they want most,” Eagle insists. “It really has ranked top in all of that list. If you were in the room

NUMBERS GAME AROUND Microsoft’s recent financial report, it was revealed that the firm would no longer be reporting console sales figures. Instead, Xbox said it was going to be revealing ‘engagement’ data, “Our job is to bring as many new customers to the platform as we can,” says UK marketing boss Harvey Eagle. “The most important measure of success is engagement and usage and that’s why we’ve really made this change in how we report our success. We want to report on a monthly basis engagement and usage of the most-engaged Xbox players and we want to focus on bringing the highest amount of people to the console that we can. “And the Xbox One is the fastest-selling Xbox console that we’ve had.”

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BE SPORTING Backwards compatability wasn’t the only big Xbox announcement this year. The platform holder also revealed the highly customisable Elite Controller. “The Elite range is really designed for what we’d call the competitivelevel gamer,” Eagle explains. “It’s for a serious player who wants to have full customisation of a controller, who wants to have the flexibility to set up and configure their controller for their style of game play.” The gamepad is pricey – coming in at a hefty £130 – but it has been very popular since its launch. “It’s always hard to know when you’re launching a new product exactly what the demand is going to be,” Eagle says. “We were very confident that the team had built an incredible product, of that we were in no doubt. But it’s a premium price product, it’s a new market for us and the demand has been overwhelming. So we are in the process of trying to keep up with that demand, get as much product into the market as we can, as quickly as we can.” The Elite Controller is another effort by Microsoft to tap into the burgeoning eSports market. At Gamescom, the platform holder announced the first Halo World Championship,

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THE NEW XBOX ONE

We’re interested in delivering the whole broad range of what gamers want – and that includes eSports. Harvey Eagle, Xbox UK

Halo 5 made more money in its first 24 hours than Spectre

with a $1m prize pool that has since grown to $1.5m. But what exactly is Xbox’s ambition within the eSports space? “The team under Phil Spencer has made a commitment to make Xbox the best place for gamers to play,” Eagle says. “And that’s for all types of games, whether you are interested in family-style games and want to play games like FIFA, Minecraft or LEGO – we want to make sure that Xbox delivers that. Likewise if you are more serious or pro gamer, we want to make sure Xbox can deliver on that, too. We’re interested in delivering across the whole broad range of what gamers want. And that includes eSports.” HELLO HALO Xbox also recently launched a new entry in its Halo franchise, Halo 5: Guardians. The game generated more money in its first 24 hours than new James Bond flick Spectre and pushed the sci-fi series over $5bn in sales. “It’s been the fastest-selling exclusive title on any new console and one of the most pleasing things of all is how strong multiplayer is and how many people are already out there playing,” Eagle says. “The latest data is that we’ve had 21m hours of gameplay posted on Halo 5. That’s a mind boggling number in a very short

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been very focused on building the right plan to get us through this period. With the new features, the great new games that have just come out, some of the amazing games that are about to come out, plus some of the deals that we and our retail partners will have, we’re making the Xbox One the most attractive console to buy out there. “It makes us very confident in how the next few weeks are going to go.”

space of time. That gives us great confidence in the future of Halo 5. It will be a game that people keep coming back to again and again, particularly because of the strength of the multiplayer.” Halo isn’t the only big game Xbox has this quarter, either. Temporary exclusive Rise of the Tomb Raider hits shelves today (Friday, November 13th). And Eagle has sizeable expectations of the title. “It’s obviously a much-loved franchise,” Eagle says. “We recently showed Rise of the Tomb Raider at EGX – people were queuing up for hours just to try the game. I spoke to a lot of people coming out of that and the response was really amazing. We have a great marketing campaign lined up, we have some TV ads just breaking now. As I say the game looks gorgeous, it plays gorgeous and we’re really excited about it.” When it launched, Halo helped make the Xbox One the bestselling console in the UK for that week. And Microsoft has plans to ensure it continues to drive impressive sales for the duration of the Q4 period, and close the sales gap between the Xbox One and Sony’s PS4. “Now is really the time when the market starts to grow,” Eagle says. “It’s a highly seasonal business, it always has been – and a lot of the sales happen in this period. We’ve

Xbox is targeting the pro gaming scene with its new £130 Elite Controller

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November 13th 2015


OFFICIAL VIDEO GAME

“RETURN OF THEGAMESPOT KING” 9/10 BEST SPORTS GAME AT GAMESCOM 2015 Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies, and are used under license from Microsoft. “2”, “PlayStation”, “Ô and “À” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “Ø” is a trademark of the same company. “Blu-ray Disc™” and “Blu-ray™” are trademarks of the Blu-ray Disc Association. Dolby and the double-D symbol are trademarks of Dolby Laboratories. DTS® is a registered trademark and DTS Digital Surround™ is a trademark of DTS, Inc. Pro Evolution Soccer® 2016 ©2015 Konami Digital Entertainment KONAMI is a registered trademark of KONAMI CORPORATION. “Pro Evolution Soccer” is a registered trademark of Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. SCEE, 10 Great Marlborough Street, London, W1F 7LP. Published by Konami Digital Entertainment BV. Developed by Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. ll UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup names, logos and trophies are the property, registered trademarks and/or copyright of UEFA. All rights reserved. adidas, the 3-Bars logo, the 3-Stripe trade mark and Climacool are registered trade marks of the adidas Group, used with permission. The use of images and names of the football players in this game is under license from FIFPro Commercial Enterprises BV. Copyright FFF © Official Licensee of the FIGC The FIGC logo is a registered trade mark of the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio Producto Oficial Licenciado RFEF Liga BBVA 15/16 Product under Official License from the La Liga www.laliga.es © 2002 Ligue de Football Professionnel ® Officially Licensed by Eredivisie C.V. and Stichting CAO voor Contractspelers © S.L.B. Producto Oficial. Official Licensed Product of A.C. Milan Official product manufactured and distributed by KDE under licence granted by Soccer s.a.s. di Brand Management S.r.l. Photo by Aflo All other copyrights or trademarks are the property of their respective owners and are used under license. Made in Austria. All rights reserved.

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10/10

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GAMESPOT

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THE TELEGRAPH

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“ ”, “ “, “ “ 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.


CHEAT SHEET

UP & DOWN

Market Data The launch of Call of Duty causes the market to almost double in value last week

£50m £15m

SALES OF Halo 5: Guardians decline 78 per cent as it falls three places to No.4

£49.3m 1,216,280 units £30m £25m

£15.3m 434,162 units Week Ending October 24th

£26.2m 716,741 units

Week Ending October 31st

Week Ending November 7th

MARIO KART 7 returns to the charts at No.14 following a retailer promotion that saw sales rise 898 per cent

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK THIS WEEK: RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER

[INFO] FORMATS: Xbox One RELEASED: November 13th PUBLISHER: Microsoft DISTRIBUTOR: Exertis CONTACT: 01279 822 800

November 13th 2015

MICROSOFT has put a multimillion pound marketing investment behind Rise of the Tomb Raider. This has allowed near blanket coverage for the action title across digital, TV, out of home, print and radio. Xbox has also pushed the title over picture sharing site Instagram via the Tomb Raider Experience account. The firm uploaded a series of images that highlight different aspects of the game. In addition, Microsoft has run the ‘Survival Billboard’, which sees eight UK Tomb Raider fans on a Central London billboard for 24 hours while they experience Siberian weather to reflect the conditions endured by the title’s hero, Lara Croft. “The blockbuster campaign that is in place to support the launch will accelerate sales out of the gate, but most importantly Crystal Dynamics have delivered an unbelievable game, which the reviews we’re now

Microsoft promoted Rise of the Tomb Raider over Instagram

seeing are testament to,” said Xbox UK first party games category manager Jon Edney. “Retailer feedback has also been extremely positive so we’re all now looking forward to launch day finally arriving.” “Reviews this week have been at the top end of the scale, and

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feedback we’ve received has been extremely positive. We’re feeling great about the benchmark in quality set by Rise of The Tomb Raider, and that the title will offer something unique to fans, as part of the greatest games line-up in Xbox history.”

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CHEAT SHEET

PRESENTS

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

SHAHID AHMAD DEPARTS PLAYSTATION UK

500,000

After ten years, Strategic Content boss Shahid Ahmad is leaving PlayStation. He announced that he is going to be returning to games development. Ahmad has been responsibile for signing many of the PlayStation’s indie hits, including Devolver’s Hotline Miami, FuturLab’s Velocity 2X and Mike Bithell’s Thomas Was Alone

Obsidian has announced that its Kickstarter title Pillars of Eternity has sold 500,000 units since March 2015

@FuturLab Bittersweet news of Shahid leaving Sony. A champion of so many, and a man of his word, which made him such a great asset to PlayStation. FuturLab, indie developer Monday, November 9th

@yosp Thanks Shahid for everything you’ve done for PlayStation.

Shuhei Yoshida, PlayStation, Monday, November 9th

BLIZZARD REVEALS FIRST WARCRAFT TRAILER At this year’s Blizzcon even, publisher Blizzard showed the first trailer for the upcoming Warcraft film. The fantasy movie is set for a June 2016 launch.

91% OF BLACK OPS III WEEK ONE SALES WERE ON PLAYSTATION 4 AND XBOX ONE Only nine per cent of the Week One sales for Call of Duty: Black Ops III were for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 SKUs.

@ObvItsAmy Watched the Warcraft trailer, the CGI is a brilliant adaptation of Warcraft style. Not sure about the plot now though.

@ODDERZinnit If those COD stats are anything to go by, Acti *just might* forget the last-gen COD for next year’s release.

Amy-Marie Graves, Curve Digital Friday, November 6th

Dave Aubrey, freelance writer Monday, November 9th

@MikeDiver There will be a great game-to-movie adaptation, but Warcraft won’t be it. Imagine instead Remember Me or Enslaved - those, maybe. Mike Diver, Vice Gaming Monday, November 9th

@VG_Dave Black Ops 3 only sold 5% of its copies on Xbox 360, but that was still higher than last week’s sales of Halo 5, AC: Syndicate PS4, NFS XB1

David Scammell, Videogamer Monday, November 9th

300 Over 300 GAME stores opened at midnight for Fallout 4

$365m Take-Two beat its revenue expectations for Q2 by $50m, meaning it netted $365m

$1.5m The prize pool for the Halo World Championsip has risen to $1.5m following $500,000 of Halo 5 microtransactions

7m More than seven million people have registered for the beta of Blizzard’s upcoming shooter, Overwatch Xbox ONE Rock Candy Wired Controller - PDP Design and manufacture the Officially Licenced Microsoft Rock Candy Wired Controller for Xbox ONE europesales@pdp.com

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GAMESAID THIS WEEK SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST ..................

.................................................... PLAY YOUR PART BECOME A MEMBER AMBASSADOR  TRUSTEE WWW.GAMESAID.ORG

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Developer HotGen is going the extra mile for GamesAid by taking part in the Mens Health Survival of the Fittest on November 21st. If you think completing a 5km run through a 20-obstacle course is worth donating to, visit www. justgiving.com/HotGen-Ltd

MCV AND DEVELOP CHRISTMAS PARTY ..................

To celebrate the year, MCV and Develop is bringing together the games industry for our Christmas Party at London’s Sway Bar. Admission costs £10, with all money made from tickets being donated to GamesAid.

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GAMES ON SONG 2015 ..................

Hark, the herald angels sing: Games on Song is back. The games industry Christmas choir will perform at St Stephen’s Church in London on December 16th. Stay up-to-date and get involved at www.facebook .com/GamesOnSong

November 13th 2015


MARKET MOVES

APPOINTMENTS

Xbox UK bolsters games marketing team New roles for Edney, Rapson and Butcher ODead Good Media hires media consultant OZynga CFO departs XBOX | Three Microsoft employees have new roles in its Xbox UK division. Joining its games team are JON EDNEY (top) and MIKE RAPSON (left), both of whom join as first-party category managers Edney comes from his job on the firm’s console team. He joined Microsoft in 2011, handling the Xbox 360, before holding platform marketing manager and Xbox Studios category manager roles. Before that he was the brand manager for Guitar Hero.

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Rapson, meanwhile, moves to the games team as firstparty category manager having previously held a role within channel marketing. Before that he held roles in retail dealing with Microsoft. Both will be reporting into content and services head AMANDA FARR. “I am absolutely delighted to welcome both Jon and Mike to the Games team,” said Farr. “They both bring with them a huge amount of experience that will be invaluable as we continue to deliver on our Q4 line-up.” Over in Xbox’s console division, JAMES BUTCHER (bottom far left) joins as platform category manager, handling the Xbox 360

and Xbox One. Butcher is a Microsoft vet, having worked at the company since 2008. During his time at the firm he has held marketing roles for Windows Live and Bing. Most recently he was senior consumer audience lead. He will be reporting into UK marketing director HARVEY EAGLE. “We welcome James to the team, and the experience he brings, in preparation of a big Christmas for Xbox and our fans,” Eagle said. DEAD GOOD MEDIA | The PR and media firm has hired CARLY KIM as a media consultant.

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She will be working on Dead Good Media’s clients, including Techland and Eidos Montreal. This is Kim’s first role in the games media – prior to this she worked in the restaurant industry as a copywriter, photographer and designer ZYNGA | The social gaming firm’s CFO will be departing next month. Zynga revealed that DAVID LEE is leaving on December 11th. Lee joined in 2014 from his role at SVP of corporate finance at American retail giant Best Buy. Chief accounting officer MICHELLE QUEJADO is taking over Lee’s role until a replacement can be found.

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BLACK FRIDAY: IN NUMBERS

Black Friday: What should you expect? US sales event Black Friday took the UK by storm in 2014, but its real impact is being felt now, with gamers holding off for this year’s event. In a wide-reaching survey, MCV teamed up with Ipsos Connect to find out what consumers really think about Black Friday. Christopher Dring reports

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lack Friday is a US sales event. It signals the end of Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas sales rush. That is where it stayed for more than a decade, until Amazon decided to run Black Friday promotions across Europe. A few other retailers followed and then, in 2014, it snowballed, with most major stores getting in on the action in the UK. In games it made a serious impact. Although lots of consoles were sold, December sales were almost as a direct result - weaker. So is Black Friday really a useful event? Is retail simply moving Christmas sales earlier and generating less money as a result? We teamed up with Ipsos Connect’s GameTrack survey - a detailed consumer research project that combines online interviews with real face-to-face discussions - to understand a bit more about consumer expectations surrounding Black Friday in 2015. THEY KNOW IT’S COMING The vast majority of shoppers in Britain now know what Black Friday is and that it is coming. 81 per cent of UK consumers are aware of Black Friday – a number that rises to 85 per cent for gamers. That’s significantly higher than the rest of Europe. Awareness for Black Friday is low in France (24 per cent) and Germany (16 per cent), although, again, awareness of the day is higher amongst gamers (26 per cent for France, 21 per cent for Germany). Spanish gamers are more in-tune with the sales event - 64 per cent know

November 13th 2015

They may be waiting for Black Friday sales, but a third of gamers dislike the event

it is coming - but this is still well below the UK. Interestingly, awareness of Black Friday has increased disdain for the event. In the UK, 36 per cent of these consumers (and 38 per cent of gamers) dislike the idea of Black Friday. However, dislike for the day of discounting is relatively low in France (14 per cent) and Germany (15 per cent). The most interesting data is how Black Friday has impacted consumer buying behaviour this year. 19 per cent of all Black Fridayaware gamers in the UK say they are waiting until the sales event before buying software or hardware - that number rises to 30 per cent for gamers on the new consoles (PS4, Xbox One and Wii U). In addition, 15 per cent of Black Friday-aware UK gamers say they will be buying games or hardware

30 per cent of PS4, Xbox One and Wii U owners will buy games or games hardware during Black Friday, rather than at other times.

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as Christmas gifts that weekend as opposed to other times. That number increases to 22 per cent for all console gamers and 30 per cent for PS4, Xbox One or Wii U gamers. In more positive news, 11 per cent of these gamers did say they are more likely to buy more products as a result of Black Friday (a number that increases to 17 per cent for console gamers and 24 per cent for new-console gamers). Across the rest of Europe, although Black Friday awareness is lower, the impact on consumer behaviour is more severe. Out of those gamers that are familiar with Black Friday, 37 per cent in France, 29 per cent in Germany and 28 per cent in Spain say they are holding off buying games or games hardware to see if they will appear in the Black Friday sales window.

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BLACK FRIDAY: IN NUMBERS AWARENESS OF BLACK FRIDAY UK

All respondents

All gamers (any format)

All console gamers

Latest generation console gamers

Base Size

1,899

1,501

1,050

461

‘Yes’

81%

85%

82%

78%

‘No’ / ‘Don’t Know’

19%

15%

18%

22%

FRANCE

All respondents

All gamers (any format)

All console gamers

Latest generation console gamers

Base Size

1,823

1,438

885

300

‘Yes’

24%

26%

30%

32%

‘No’ / ‘Don’t Know’

76%

74%

70%

68%

GERMANY

All respondents

All gamers (any format)

All console gamers

Latest generation console gamers

Base Size

1,843

1,413

783

311

‘Yes’

16%

21%

26%

27%

‘No’ / ‘Don’t Know’

84%

80%

75%

73%

SPAIN

All respondents

All gamers (any format)

All console gamers

Latest generation console gamers

Base Size

1,794

1,436

1,068

363

‘Yes’

56%

64%

65%

71%

‘No’ / ‘Don’t Know’

44%

36%

35%

29%

UK consumers are more aware of Black Friday than the rest of Europe

PEOPLE AWARE OF BLACK FRIDAY WHO ‘AGREE’ WITH EACH OF THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS All respondents

All gamers (any format)

All console gamers

Latest generation console gamers

I dislike the idea of Black Friday

36%

38%

30%

32%

I will delay buying games hardware/software that I might buy otherwise to see if it is reduced in the Black Friday sales

14%

19%

26%

30%

I will buy games hardware/software as Christmas gifts during the Black Friday sales, instead of at other times

11%

15%

22%

30%

Due to discounts offered during Black Friday I will buy more computer or games hardware/software this year

6%

11%

17%

24%

All respondents

All gamers (any format)

All console gamers

Latest generation console gamers

I dislike the idea of Black Friday

14%

14%

11%

15%

I will delay buying games hardware/software that I might buy otherwise to see if it is reduced in the Black Friday sales

33%

37%

44%

45%

I will buy games hardware/software as Christmas gifts during the Black Friday sales, instead of at other times

28%

33%

42%

53%

Due to discounts offered during Black Friday I will buy more computer or games hardware/software this year

15%

19%

26%

34%

All respondents

All gamers (any format)

All console gamers

Latest generation console gamers

I dislike the idea of Black Friday

15%

14%

12%

23%

I will delay buying games hardware/software that I might buy otherwise to see if it is reduced in the Black Friday sales

24%

29%

29%

39%

I will buy games hardware/software as Christmas gifts during the Black Friday sales, instead of at other times

14%

16%

24%

27%

Due to discounts offered during Black Friday I will buy more computer or games hardware/software this year

11%

14%

22%

25%

All respondents

All gamers (any format)

All console gamers

Latest generation console gamers

I dislike the idea of Black Friday

21%

13%

12%

9%

I will delay buying games hardware/software that I might buy otherwise to see if it is reduced in the Black Friday sales

18%

28%

29%

40%

I will buy games hardware/software as Christmas gifts during the Black Friday sales, instead of at other times

17%

25%

29%

40%

Due to discounts offered during Black Friday I will buy more computer or games hardware/software this year

12%

17%

19%

23%

UK

FRANCE

GERMANY

SPAIN

www.mcvuk.com

15

November 13th 2015


INDIE INTERVIEW MORITZ ZUMBHUL

How video games can save the world Many developers shy away from big, important topics, but Blindflug Games has already tackled the issues of nuclear war and the immigration crisis in its first two titles. Studio founder Moritz Zumbhul tells Alex Calvin why games have a responsibility to address these problems

M

ost people think ‘video games’ and picture big, fun blockbuster popcorn thrills like Call of Duty. But there are some developers out there who feel that games can talk about difficult issues. One such man is Blindflug Studios’s Moritz Zumbhul, whose games so far have covered the migrant crisis in Europe and nuclear war. Blindflug is a spin-off of a digital agency called Feinheit, which Zumbhul founded in 2013. He had some big ambitions for Blindflug. “We wanted to make fun and beautiful games about difficult topics,” Zumbhul says. “We asked ourselves what we should do. My co-founder and I were on the way back from a conference, and I asked if we could make a game about nuclear war. He thought I meant from a game standpoint; I actually meant from a political and artistic side. “We started First Strike in the summer of 2013, and released it in March 2014. We did it just ourselves, we published it on the App Store, and to our surprise we became a huge success and sold 150,000 copies worldwide. It really helped us to bootstrap the studio. “After First Strike, we looked at what we were going to do next. I was very frustrated because the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean Sea was already a big problem. I asked my team whether we could make a game about migration, about refugees, and they were all very sceptical, because with nuclear war it is clear – everybody is pretty sure it’s a bad idea – but with migration there are many different points of view.

November 13th 2015

Blindflug’s second game, Cloud Chasers, deals with the migrant crisis in Europe

“It was also quite unclear if we could make a game which really covered the experience and journey, but was also a fun game.” ART ATTACK Covering these tough topics is something that is very close to Zumbhul’s heart. “Games are the most important form of art in the present day,” he says. “We as an industry often forget that. It came so suddenly, not just in terms of revenue and the sheer number of people who play games, but also in terms of importance for society. “Games are the mass media art form of the 21st century. I’m not sure if our industry is aware of what kind of responsibility this brings. I’m not saying that we are doing it how we should do it – we are just trying to explore how we can take this responsibility and try to bring something to society, which is one of the responsibilities that artists have.” He continues: “The problem is that people think that something

The problem is that people think something that is fun cannot be serious. Moritz Zumbhul, Blindflug Studios

16

that is fun cannot be serious. People still think that to talk about serious issues or important problems, then players need to be serious and not in a ‘fun’ mood. That’s not true, that’s not how we are. “Most problem solvers are players. It’s how we learn. We try to find solutions by trial-and-error in games. You can simulate, you can make decisions, you can even make the wrong or bad decisions and you don’t hurt anybody: you learn. That’s something that we should discover and explore more.” So far, Blindflug has just focused on releasing games for mobile. “Our strategy is ‘release early and release often’,” Zumbhul says. “As a small studio that is selffunded – we have no backers – we wanted to go where we could have the biggest impact in the smallest amount of time. What we do is release a game every year. It’s quite challenging, but also gives you a good boundary – because you can’t make big titles, you have to iterate very quickly. “We want to release a game and see what the reaction from players is; if they love it we’ll improve it, we’ll continue, and that’s why we had to start with mobile. “Mobile is something also that’s really changing how games are received by the public. My motherin-law plays mobile games, my grandmother who is 86 plays mobile games... that’s a chance we won’t miss. We don’t think we can reach out to the general public with our games if they were made for console or PC – they’re not there yet. We need something that everybody has, and that’s a smartphone or tablet.”

www.mcvuk.com


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THE BIG GAME STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT

STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT

‘This is the game you’re looking for’ The wait for The Force Awakens is proving to be excruciating. Ben Parfitt eases the suffering by chatting with DICE and EA about its contender for 2015 game of the year, Star Wars Battlefront Release Date: November 19th Formats: PS4, Xbox One, PC Publisher: EA Developer: DICE

I

t may be a surprise to hear that there’s a new Star Wars film coming out next month. We jest; it’s hard to imagine anyone being unaware of the looming arrival of Episode VII: The Force Awakens, but it’s fair to say that for once it isn’t only marketing that’s to thank for the blooming hype levels. Yes, there was a lot of noise around the launch of the toys and, yes, the internet melts whenever a new trailer is released. But where The Force Awakens perhaps differs from many other properties is the genuine groundswell of affection and goodwill toward the series.

November 13th 2015

Of course, the pain of Jar Jar Binks still runs deep, but equally so does the magic that Star Wars afforded many childhoods. It’s no exaggeration to say that for a large number of people – not even specifically Star Wars fans, either – George Lucas’ magnum opus was an expansive experience that redefined what entertainment could be. It has changed lives. In an age where people take more enjoyment from relishing in failure than celebrating success, Star Wars shares a privilege few others do – the world wants it to be good. The games market’s attempt to capitalise on the new film comes

There are moments when you realise you are doing something truly special in this industry, and Star Wars is it. Peter Moore, EA

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primarily in the form of EA’s Star Wars Battlefront, which is in development at Battlefield studio DICE. Interestingly, the game is not a direct tie-in to Episode VII – although this seems the result of logistics as much as design. “We are as excited for the new film as everyone else,” the game’s design director at DICE Niklas Fegraeus tells MCV. “We knew we wanted to give players at least something that ties into the Force Awakens, but since both the game and the film were being made at the same time, we didn’t really know what that could be.

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STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT THE BIG GAME

‘GREAT KID, DON’T GET COCKY’ NO-ONE’S saying it, of course, because why set yourself up for a fall? But there are more than a few whispers lurking around the games industry that are beginning to wonder – could Star Wars Battlefront outsell market goliaths Call of Duty: Black Ops III and FIFA 16 this Q4, and end up being the best-selling game of 2015? “I am biased obviously, but coming out of E3 Battlefront had more buzz and anticipation. It is spectacular,” EA COO Peter Moore told MCV at E3 in June. “This is why you come to E3 as a publisher. “The team at DICE know this piece of IP is treasured and precious. There have been moments when you realise you are doing something truly special in this industry, and Star Wars is it. For the team at DICE in Stockholm, every one of them is a huge Star Wars fan. It is a privilege for them to make this game. And that is showing through with the quality.” In September, Betway was offering odds of 14:1 on Star Wars Battlefront being 2015’s best-selling game, making it only the sixth favourite. More recent odds from William Hill make it the second favourite for the title of Christmas No.1, however, with odds of 5:2.

www.mcvuk.com

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November 13th 2015


THE BIG GAME STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT

‘YOU DO HAVE YOUR MOMENTS’ A lot of folk would have you believe that Star Wars has been somewhat underserved by the video games sector. While there have been plenty of duff releases over the years, there have also been loads of absolutely cracking titles, too. Here are some examples of when the Force was very strong: Star Wars: Trilogy, Atari – Arcade (1999) Perhaps Atari’s 1983 Star Wars cabinet was better, but we played this for hours and hours on a Somerset caravan holiday once and we could not get enough. Especially the Endor speeder bike level.

Super Star Wars, JVC – SNES (1993) Admittedly, this game took a few liberties with the licence (we don’t remember Han Solo doing too many tumbling air-bound forward rolls in the film) but this sharp piece of console platforming was superb.

Star Wars: X-Wing, LucasArts – PC (1993) Now, this is what we’re talking about. Never has that trench run felt so glorious.

Battlefront allows players to battle as the Stormtroopers and Rebels – plus iconic heroes and baddies

Star Wars Episode I: Racer, LucasArts – PC (1999) Yes, we know, but Jar Jar Binks was nowhere in sight and the actual racing itself was really brilliant. It’s also the best selling sci-fi racing game ever, as per the Guinness Book of World Records.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, LucasArts – Xbox (2003) The combination of BioWare and Star Wars is such an obvious winner that precisely no-one was shocked when this RPG turned out to be utterly wonderful.

LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, LucasArts – Xbox 360 (2007) It’s hard to fault this as an overall package. Note to parents – your kids aren’t showing enough Star Wars love ahead of Episode VII? Stick ‘em in front of this and await the rise of a new Jedi.

The feedback from the beta was invaluable when finalising the game.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, LucasArts – PS3 (2008) This is perhaps the most flawed game in this list, but we loved it nonetheless. Great characters and a superb (now non-canon) Vader-rich Dark Side story. Yes.

November 13th 2015

Niklas Fegraeus, DICE

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“Fortunately, the guys at LucasFilm helped out and we managed to get some superexclusive sneak peek access, allowing us to create a free additional experience that ties in with the film.” This comes in the form of The Battle of Jakku content, that will be added to the game two weeks after release. Jakku, which bears similarities with Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker’s more familiar home world of Tatooine, will burst onto the screen in Episode VII. Remember the crashed Star Destroyer from the trailer? That’s Jakku. The Battlefront level itself takes place in the aftermath of the Rebel’s victory at the Battle of Endor at the end of Return of the Jedi. STAY ON TARGET It is in itself interesting that, from a video games perspective, the launches of The Force Awakens and The Phantom Menace differ

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STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT THE BIG GAME in one key aspect: The Phantom Menace arrived alongside around 12 licensed games. This new film, however, has far fewer – a couple of mobile titles, plus some content in Disney Infinity 3.0 and Battlefront. Why has EA, which grabbed the Star Wars console rights from Disney in 2013, not then flooded the market? “That’s not what we do anymore,” EA COO Peter Moore told MCV at E3. “We are a superior medium. We can tell stories better than any direct movie, which is a linear story with passive engagement from the consumer. “We take great pride in the fact that you are playing your Star Wars fantasy. When you are out there on Hoth, depending on which side you’re on, you can do things you simply cannot do in a movie – you can’t do anything in a movie other than watch. “When I got in this industry, we were a little inferior to movies and

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felt that the game had to be built around the film and it would ride the coat tails of the movie. “That is not the case anymore. Games should stand alone – based on the IP, of course – but they should be titles that play the way our executive producers and creative directors all want that game to play – with a lot of input from players along the way.” That in no way means that EA isn’t harbouring plans to best use the licence, however. With a new Star Wars film due out every year until at least 2019, how many Battlefronts can we expect to arrive alongside Jade Raymond and Amy Hennig’s still mysterious in-development adventure title? “If I had a crystal ball I could tell you,” Fegraeus evasively claims. “For now, all I can do is look forward to getting this game into players’ hands. “Personally though, I would be extremely happy to keep doing this. It truly is a childhood dream.”

We take pride that you are playing your Star Wars fantasy. You can do things you simply cannot do in a movie. Peter Moore, EA

21

‘FULLY ARMED AND OPERATIONAL’ GAMERS have already had a chance to get hands on with Battlefront thanks to last month’s early beta. The trial was the biggest in EA history, attracting over 9.5m players who collectively clocked 1.6bn minutes. 6m of those who played took their characters all the way to the top rank. “It was amazing seeing players get hands-on with the game,” DICE’s design director Niklas Fegraeus tells MCV. “The biggest learning for us was seeing how all components worked together, both the core game and the underlying systems. Then we got super valuable feedback and data on things such as balance, spawning and controls, which is invaluable when finalising the game.”

November 13th 2015


XXX IS YO-KAI XXX WATCH THE NEXT POKÉMON?

One to Watch Yo-Kai Watch has been hailed as the next Japanese kids brand ready to set the international market alight. UK flagbearers for the franchise Viz Media and Bulldog Licensing tell Matthew Jarvis why they think the ghost-hunting IP can repeat the success of Pokémon in the West

A

kids game for handhelds that involves capturing fantastical creatures, then battling them against rival monsters. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. No, it’s not Pokémon we speak of, but newcomer Yo-Kai Watch. Like Nintendo’s critter-catcher, the ghost-hunting series has taken Japan by storm, crossing from 3DS into comic books, a TV show and multiple films. The first two titles in the Yo-Kai Watch series, created by Professor Layton developer Level-5, have sold over four million units in Japan, and have just begun their transition to the West. A spin-off, Yo-Kai Watch Busters, has sold another one million units. The first game – one of the best-selling 3DS titles to date with over 1.29 million sales – landed in the US last week, with a European debut planned for 2016. Viz Media Europe, license-holder for the IP in the UK, says that its Eastern triumph can be repeated in this country. “This will be the next big boys’ brand, essentially the next Pokémon,” predicts EMEA associate brand manager Waell Oueslati. “We have very high expectations for the market and for the UK. “We hope to rival the success of Pokémon in the games market. We are certainly bigger than Pokémon in Japan.” CULTURE CLASH While the global games industry has often been defined by Japanese creations – Mario, Metal Gear and Final Fantasy have all struck it big in the US and UK – not every game from the country is so widely accepted by Western players.

November 13th 2015

Watch will be comparable to animated hits of Western origin, too. “The last major anime-esque property to really hit the big time in Europe was probably Ben 10 – though that was not a Japanese brand,” he says. “It’s been a few years since this was at its peak and a new generation of fans is ready for the next major success story in the genre.”

Yo-Kai Watch is a series of RPGs that challenge players to capture and battle ghost creatures

Yo-Kai Watch draws heavily from Japanese ghost story traditions – which differ massively to our understanding of spectres here in the UK. So will the 3DS games’ appeal be lost in translation? “The success of any brand is driven by its conformity to the key brand pillars that drive the success of all entertainment properties,” reassures Rob Corney, group MD of licensing agency Bulldog Licensing. “Characterisation, storylines, reach, calls to action, scalability... all are vital aspects in driving longevity and cross-category success – the origin of the property is not relevant to this. “Yo-Kai Watch offers three key elements, each of which would create a strong kids’ property in their own right: a TV series, Nintendo game and fantastic toy range from Hasbro. It’s an incredibly exciting licensing opportunity. The performance of the brand in Japan, where it is the number one property in the market, has been exceptional.” Corney adds that, while the obvious comparison of the brand is to other Japanese kids IPs, Yo-Kai

A new generation of fans is ready for the next major success story in this genre. Rob Corney, Bulldog Licensing

00 22

READY-MADE HIT Yo-Kai Watch arrives in the UK next year as an already-established franchise, its strategy refined by its Japan and US launches. Corney says games retail should be looking to take advantage of the IP’s proven popularity. “With a series of three titles ready to launch here in the UK, this brand offers great opportunities for games retailers to become destinations for the brand at retail,” he enthuses. “Yo-Kai Watch will have very strong support across multiple product categories, constantly driving traffic back to games retailers and enhancing the footfall and sales opportunity many times over.” Whether Yo-Kai Watch will come alive in the West or fade into obscurity is yet to be seen. Corney says every effort is being taken to cement the IP as a worldwide phenomenon. “The TV, game and toy line will launch next year,” he says. “We have had a fantastic reaction from licensees, who have been watching the success of the brand in Japan for some time. “We hope to have partners signed for key categories imminently and will immediately start on launch planning and product development. “The future for Yo-Kai Watch looks very bright.”

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“2”and “PlayStation” are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Also, “-” is a trademark of the same company. All game titles, content, publisher names, trademarks, artwork and associated imagery are trademarks and/or copyright material of their respective owners. ©2015 Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. All rights reserved. © 2015 Activision Publishing, Inc. ACTIVISION, CALL OF DUTY, CALL OF DUTY BLACK OPS, and stylized roman numeral III are trademarks of Activision Publishing, Inc. STAR WARS © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. EA, the EA logo, and the DICE logo are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. or its subsidiaries.


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HOMEFRONT: THE REVOLUTION INTERVIEW

‘There’s a reason we’re not calling it Homefront 2’ Homefront’s cold reception led to the death of its developer and another nail in the coffin of publisher THQ. Next year, its sequel will be released. Why bring the franchise back from the dead? Matthew Jarvis asks Dambuster Studios’ CJ Kershner

H

omefront is dead; long live Homefront. The 2011 shooter came to market with lofty aspirations, positioned from the off as THQ’s attempt to steal a slice of the market dominated by Battlefield and Call of Duty. It tried to present a more grounded narrative, centred on resistance fighters in a North Korea-occupied America, penned by Dirty Harry and Apocalypse Now screenwriter John Milius. It also tried to capitalise on the growing interest in multiplayer modes, introducing a unique points system that offered something different from the myriad online shooters in the market at the time. Bloated with ambition, Homefront launched to lukewarm reviews that praised its multiplayer innovations and atmosphere but lambasted its short campaign and unoriginal gameplay. The title sold over a million copies, but the reaction from critics caused THQ’s stock to plummet 20 per cent in the 24 hours after release. Developer Kaos was shuttered three months later. After THQ’s closure in 2012, Crytek – which was in the midst of creating a sequel to the game – acquired the Homefront IP itself, before selling it to Koch Media and newlyfounded developer Dambuster Studios (formed by the original Homefront 2 team) last year. BUD OF A GOOD IDEA “Everything is new for Homefront: The Revolution.”

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27

It’s the first thing senior narrative designer CJ Kershner says about next year’s sequel to the ill-fated shooter. “It’s a new team, new publisher, new style of gameplay, new backstory...” he continues. “We’ve gone back to the core concept of Homefront – a fallen occupied America with a North Korean military presence and civilian resistance movement – and expanded it out by 360 degrees.

Forget anything you remember about the first Homefront. CJ Kershner, Dambuster Studios

“Dambuster is making its own unique mark on the name of Homefront, so anything that you remember or know about the first game: forget it now. It’s not a continuation of that story or that style of gameplay. There’s a reason we don’t call it Homefront 2.” Kershner, who also wrote for the original game, is clearly keen to make this follow-up its own distinct creation. Yet, The Revolution retains the Homefront moniker, so comparisons will undoubtedly be drawn – so why keep the name? “There’s power in that core premise of being a guerrilla fighter and fighting in your own neighbourhoods against a technologically- and numerically-superior military force,” answers Kershner. “The premise is strong and the execution on the first

November 13th 2015


INTERVIEW HOMEFRONT: THE REVOLUTION

game leveraged the story and the idea, but not the actual mechanics of what that would involve.” The Revolution brings the war-torn America of the original Homefront to an open world that players can explore as they please. As well as the core story missions, there are city neighbourhoods to release from the grip of the invading North Korean army, plus dynamic events that occur at random in the environment. “By taking it open-world and setting it in Philadelphia, we can bring that guerrilla style of both the shock and awe to the game,” he says. “Players will experience chaotic, unscripted gun battles in the streets, plus the hearts and minds campaign of moving among civilians, sabotaging the infrastructure and encouraging them to make a stand against the occupation themselves.” REVOLUTION WILL BE TELEVISED There’s perhaps a reason to worry that Homefront: The Revolution will struggle to attract an audience; after all, players were hardly clamouring for a new entry in a long-forgotten series consisting of one mildly-received title – even if the first title did sell well. If Homefront’s own uneasy legacy wasn’t enough of a challenge, one of the trials of 2011 remains the same today: the saturated shooter genre. The five years Homefront has spent reinventing itself, games such as Call of Duty, Battlefield and Halo have spent refining their already proven formulas. It’s a tough market to break into once – let alone twice. Of course, Homefront’s transformation into an open-world title means it will also butt heads with Far Cry, The Division and Mirror’s Edge. “As an open-world and action shooter game, there’s a lot of common DNA to draw from,” Kershner admits. “We have much of that, but we’ve also tried to focus on the elements that will make Homefront unique from other open-world experiences. “Unlike other shooters, you have 360 degrees of movement. Plus, you can go up and down. We try to get the player to think about how they can use the environment to their advantage. Also, there’s not a lot of running around in the open

November 13th 2015

Homefront: The Revolution takes the shooter franchise to an open world

– we’re targeting a different kind of experience. In our case, running around is the best way to get killed. It’s about knowing when to attack but also knowing when to retreat. “One of the other things that makes Homefront: The Revolution markedly different from other open-world games is that the city is divided up into distinctive zones. The red ones are more focused on guerrilla combat. But in the yellow zones, you see how civilians have been living under the occupation area. You can’t walk around with a gun, so you have to figure out how to navigate a crowded street without being seen by the police. The green zones are the seat of the North Korean administration. They’re the landmarks of Philadelphia, like Independence Hall, and they’re very heavily controlled from a security standpoint. Those are where we have our large set-piece missions: spectacular assaults on government positions and things like that.”

We have a lot of room to tell a lot of different stories in the world of Homefront. CJ Kershner, Dambuster Studios

“This game began production under THQ’s banner, with largely the same team that’s working on it today,” he recounts. “When we acquired the rights to the IP, that was when the decision was made to not make it a direct sequel and to make it open-world – to really take the game and put their own stamp on it. “The transition appears more disruptive from the outside perspective than it necessarily might’ve been on the inside, because it’s the same team that started when it was Homefront 2 with THQ. The vision changed when they became masters of their own destiny.” As for whether the Homefront name will live on beyond The Revolution, Kershner stays coy – but adds there’s more to be told. “I wouldn’t say that we have a definitive plan yet, but there are discussions about what could come next,” he reveals. “One of the nice things about the concept is we have a lot of room to tell a lot of different stories. Who knows what’s going on in different cities or the rest of the world? There are opportunities to tell those stories, and the concept of being a resistance fighter is not unique to the US – there are a lot of different places we could take that. “Maybe we’ll get the chance to do it.”

REBEL ALLIANCE MULTIPLAYER was one of the original Homefront’s most highly-praised achievements – so it’s little surprise its sequel will also feature online gameplay. “There’s a four-player multiplayer co-operative mode,” confirms CJ Kershner, senior narrative designer at developer Dambuster Studios. “You and your friends join up and form your own resistance cell. You can customise your fighter and then go out on these narrative scenarios, engage in the same style of guerrilla attacks as you do in the singleplayer game, come back, go out and do it again, and become heroes of the revolution.”

NAME FOR ITSELF While many things have changed about the new Homefront, its ambition appears to be intact. Kershner scatters references to critically-acclaimed titles throughout our interview, from Dark Souls and Red Dead Redemption to Far Cry and Shadow of Mordor. It will be a hard fight to distance the shooter sequel from its rocky past, but Kershner seems confident the team at Dambuster can pull it off – and urges onlookers to allow The Revolution to stand on its own two feet.

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Much like its predecessor, Homefront: The Revolution’s multiplayer will again play back into the single-player world of the game. “There is a narrative element to the co-operative experience,” Kershner explains. “The fun thing about working on such a big systemic sandbox, whether it’s singleplay or co-op, is that all of these things dovetail back into one another. “Because the world is constantly shifting around the player and moving whether or not you’re holding the controller, every time you play the game it’s a unique experience: it’s your story.”

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MARKETPLACE

SHELF LIFE Daniel Grossett of Croydon’s Playnation Games tells MCV why Call of Duty pre-orders are up year-on-year, why it’s not worried about falling console sales and the benefits of selling products other than video games How has business been? Not bad. We’ve had some big launches like Halo 5: Guardians. We also have a sideline in card games, which helps us out. What has been selling well? To be honest with you, it’s been Call of Duty: Black Ops III preorders. We do a lot of retro games and consoles, which are very popular. They’ve been increasing recently, which might be to do with the Christmas market.

PRE-ORDER CHARTS

always high – even when they are down they’re still really impressive.

How do the Call of Duty preorders compare to last year’s? They are up. Black Ops has an established fan base. People always play Black Ops and Black Ops II. Because Advanced Warfare was a new IP, there wasn’t as much hype. Black Ops has a decent track record, people are excited and on-board.

How have hardware sales been? So-so. Most people have the machines they want. However, retro sales are always really high; NES and Master System consoles are hard to find. In terms of modern consoles, they’ve been dropping – but not drastically.

How are pre-orders performing in general? Pre-orders have been down. I will say Call of Duty pre-orders are

Do you have any midnight launches planned?

PRICE CHECK: STRATFORD

TOP 10 PRE-ORDERS 1. RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER Microsoft, Xbox One

2. Star Wars Battlefront EA .............................................................................PS4 3. Star Wars Battlefront EA ................................................................................XO 4. Football Manager 2016 + Documentary Sega ...........................................................................PC

ASSASSIN’S CREED SYNDICATE

Activision, PS4

FIFA 16 HALO 5: GUARDIANS

EA, PS4

Microsoft, XO

Ubisoft, XO

£49.99

£84.99

£49.99

£49.99

£46.99

£54.99

£41.99

£45.99

£39.80

£54.99

£39.57

£38

9. Just Cause 3 Square Enix..........................................................PS4

£34.85

£66.60

£38.85

£37.99

10. Just Cause 3 Square Enix.............................................................XO

£40.40

£66.50

£38.74

£39.94

6. Star Wars Battlefront Limited Edition 1TB PS4 Sony/EA.................................................................PS4

IN STORE

5. Sword Art Online: Lost Song – Legacy Edition Bandai Namco ...................................................PS4

GUITAR HERO LIVE

7. Xenoblade Chronicles X Nintendo............................................................. Wii U

UPLOADING The latest digital releases coming to market

BLOODBORNE: THE OLD HUNTERS

MINECRAFT: STAR WARS SKIN PACK

DEADPOOL

The PS4 exclusive’s first expansion pack lands later this month

Skins based on Star Wars’ Prequel Trilogy are out now for the Xbox SKUs

Activision is bringing the crude comic book hero to PS4 and Xbox One

OUT NOW

OUT NOVEMBER

OUT NOVEMBER 24TH

November 13th 2015

ONLINE

8. Amiibo Animal Crossing Tom Nook Nintendo................................................. Wii U/3DS

30

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MARKETPLACE

Playnation Games 17 High Street, Croydon CR0 1QB

Phone: 020 8760 0749 Facebook: playnationgames

We did one for Halo. We had people coming in and playing the game all day before release. We aren’t doing a Call of Duty one – it attracts a different kind of crowd, much like FIFA. We are doing a midnight launch for Fallout 4.

games store rather than just a video game shop. Video games are our mainstay, but we also do board games – things that we find appeal to the same market as video games. We also do figurines, anime, manga toys and plush toys.

You mentioned earlier you are selling card and board games. Have you diversified what you sell beyond those categories? Definitely. We decided, as an indie, it’s better for us to be an all-round

What do you think the biggest release of Q4 2015 is going to be? Call of Duty. That’s a given. Christmas is coming up, it’s going to be a huge seller. FIFA has a great first week, but it slows down.

INCOMING

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

The Q4 onslaught of major game releases ploughs on, with Star Wars Battlefront, Mario Tennis, Just Cause 3 and Rainbow Six on the way

TITLE

FORMAT

GENRE

PUBLISHER

TELEPHONE

DISTRIBUTOR

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

PC

Action

Ubisoft

01279 822 822

Exertis

Star Wars Battlefront

PS4/XO/PC

Shooter

EA

0121 625 3388

CentreSoft

Wii U/3DS

Toys-to-life

Nintendo

01753 483 700

Open

November 19th

November 20th Amiibo Animal Crossing Range Amiibo Falco

Wii U/3DS

Toys-to-life

Nintendo

01753 483 700

Open

Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival

Wii U

Simulation

Nintendo

01753 483 700

Open

Barbie and Her Sisters Puppy Rescue

Wii U/PS3/360/Wii/3DS

Kids

Bandai Namco

01215 069 590

Advantage

Fireman Sam: To The Rescue

3DS

Kids

Avanquest

01480 359 403

Open

Game of Thrones – A Telltale Game Series: Season Pass Disc

PS4/XO/PS3/360

Adventure

Avanquest

01480 359 403

Open

Mario Tennis Ultra Smash

Wii U

Sports

Nintendo

01753 483 700

Open

Kids

Nintendo

01753 483 700

Open

Wii U/3DS

Toys-to-life

Nintendo

01753 483 700

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Bloodborne: Game of the Year Edition

PS4

RPG

Sony

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Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends

PS4/XO/PS3/360/3DS

Kids

Bandai Namco

01215 069 590

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Monster High: New Ghoul in School

PS3/360/Wii U/Wii

Kids

Bandai Namco

01215 069 590

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PC

Simulation

EA

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Just Cause 3

PS4/XO/PC

Action

Square Enix

0121 625 3388

CentreSoft

Rainbox Six Siege

PS4/XO/PC

Shooter

Ubisoft

01279 822 822

Exertis

3DS

RPG

Nintendo

01753 483 700

Open

Nintendo Presents: New Style Boutique 2 – Fashion Forward 3DS

November 27th Amiibo Green Mega Yarn Yoshi

November 30th The Sims 4 Get Together

December 1st

December 4th Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam Bros

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31

November 13th 2015


FALLOUT 4

FALLOUT 4 After the recordbreaking success of Skyrim, Bethesda returns to the nuclear wasteland for Fallout 4. Matthew Jarvis looks at the merchandise set to make gamers glow green with envy (not radiation)

BETHESDA is pulling out all the stops in its follow-up to two of the most popular games of the last generation Fallout 4 is the highlyanticipated sequel to 2008’s Fallout 3. Another Fallout title, New Vegas, was released in 2010, but this week’s instalment is the first proper follow-up to the massively successful game. Fallout 3 has sold more than 4.6 million units worldwide and was critically acclaimed upon release. It

Fallout 3 has sold more than 4.6 million units worldwide, while Skyrim has sold over 20 million.

was voted the best game of 2008 and seventh greatest game of the decade by IGN. The announcement of Fallout 4 at this year’s E3 rocketed the older game’s sales by 1,163 per cent. Fallout 4 is also the first major open-world RPG from Bethesda since 2011’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a fantasy game made by the same studio. At the time of its launch, Skyrim was the fastest-selling game of all time on Steam, plus the title with

VAULT 111 SOLE SURVIVOR HOODIE Emblazoned with the vault number of Fallout 4’s lead protagonist, this hoodie is designed to keep players warm throughout the chilly nuclear winter. It has two pockets and a hood (obviously), with the left sleeve featuring a zippered compartment and logo. SRP: £46.99 Manufacturer: Bioworld Europe Distributor: Gaming Merchandise UK Contact: hello@gamingmerchandiseuk.com

NUKA COLA BOTTLE CAP KEYCHAIN

FERAL GHOUL POP! VINYL FIGURE

VAULT BOY MESSENGER BAG

As caps are used as currency in the postapocalyptic land of Fallout, this keyring is a sound investment for the end of the world.

Fallout’s irradiated and emaciated inhabitants are shrunken down to adorable size in these collectable figures.

Decorated with the encouraging thumbs up of franchise mascot Vault Boy, this shoulder bag features plenty of inventory space.

SRP: £6.99 Manufacturer: Bioworld Europe Distributor: Gaming Merchandise UK Contact: hello@gamingmerchandiseuk.com

SRP: £9.99 Manufacturer: Funko Distributor: Underground Toys Contact: kenny@underground-toys.com

SRP: £34.99 Manufacturer: Bioworld Europe Distributor: Gaming Merchandise UK Contact: hello@gamingmerchandiseuk.com

Nocember 13th 2015

32

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FALLOUT 4

Sponsored by

O

gaming merchandise uk

the most simultaneous players. By June 2013, the RPG had sold 20 million units. So it’s little surprise that Bethesda has invested heavily in marketing and promotion around Fallout 4 since its reveal in June. During E3, it launched a tie-in free-to-play mobile game, Fallout Shelter, for iOS and Android, which became the most-downloaded iOS app in the US and UK within a day of

launch. It was also the thirdhighest-grossing iOS title on the day of its release, generating over $2 million – more than that of Candy Crush Saga. There is also a massive variety of branded products hitting retail ahead of Fallout 4’s release. From snowboards to Fallout beer created in collaboration with Carlsberg, there’s everything gamers would need to survive in the post-apocalyptic wasteland – and more.

FALLOUT 3: SPECIAL EDITION VINYL SOUNDTRACK Clocking in at over 80 minutes, this special edition vinyl set brings Fallout 3’s soundtrack to wax for the first time. It has all 29 of the tracks composed by highlyregarded game composer Inon Zur. The pack includes three LPs and one seven-inch disc, contained in a four-pocket, three-gatefold jacket. This is then enclosed in a fullcolour heavy board stock slipcover. Enough to survive hundreds of years in a vault. SRP: $85 (£56) Manufacturer: SpaceLab9 Distributor: SpaceLab9 Contact: SpaceLab9.com

MONOPOLY: FALLOUT EDITION

VAULT 111 YELLOW SNAPBACK

VAULT BOY BOMBER T-SHIRT

Fallout 4’s hero spends 200 years underground in a vault. There’s obviously no better way to pass the time than Monopoly.

Power armour might be tough, but it’s hardly fashionable. Fallout fans can get their wasteland swagger on with this hat.

Mimicking the iconic Dr Strangelove scene, this Vault Boy-starring top is the ideal gift for film buffs and Fallout lovers alike.

SRP: $40 (£26) Manufacturer: USAopoly Distributor: Winning Moves Contact: 01706 558 539

SRP: £19.99 Manufacturer: Bioworld Europe Distributor: Gaming Merchandise UK Contact: hello@gamingmerchandiseuk.com

SRP: £14.99 Manufacturer: Bioworld Europe Distributor: Gaming Merchandise UK Contact: hello@gamingmerchandiseuk.com

www.mcvuk.com

33

Nocember 13th 2015


HOT PRODUCTS

Sponsored by

HOT PRODUCTS MCV takes a look at the best accessories heading to UK retail. This week, Turtle Beach heads to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars headsets and Roccat launches a modular mouse

TURTLE BEACH STAR WARS HEADSETS TURTLE BEACH is allowing Star Wars Battlefront players to side with either the Rebel Alliance or the Empire thanks to two new branded headsets. The Sandtrooper headset is inspired by the desert-dwelling division of the iconic Stormstrooper soldiers, and dons an orange shoulder pauldron to match the signature garb of the squad. The headset is compatible with PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and mobile devices. It features an overear design for extra comfort, plus a removable high-sensitivity boom microphone for chatting. Audio is delivered via 50mm speakers, while the outside of the ear cups can be customised with removable speaker plates that include designs featuring different Star Wars characters and scenes from the films. On the Rebel side, the X-Wing Pilot headset takes its cues instead

from the orange jumpsuits worn by Rebel Alliance forces. The form factor of the peripheral is based upon Turtle Beach’s entry-level Recon series. It also works with PS4, Xbox One and mobile devices. The X-Wing Pilot features over-ear, synthetic leatherwrapped ear-cups. Inside sit 40mm Neodymium speakers. A removable high-sensitivity boom microphone and convenient in-line controls for master volume and mic muting are also included.

[INFO] RRP: £34.99 (X-Wing Pilot), £69.99 (Sandtrooper) Release Date: Out Now Distributor: Exertis Contact: 01279 822 822

ROCCAT KIRO MODULAR GAMING MOUSE ROCCAT has launched what it calls the world’s first ‘superdextrous’ gaming mouse. What this means is that the Kiro can be customised for either right- or lefthanded users However, unlike an ambidextrous mouse, this is achieved not through a single accommodating body shape, but replaceable side components designed to fit each hand. Inside the mouse sits an Pro-Optic R2 sensor with 2,000

November 13th 2015

34

native dots per inch (dpi) tracking. This can be safely overclocked to 4,000 dpi with Overdrive mode for increased responsiveness. The peripheral is constructed including Omron switches and a 2D Titan Wheel for extra durability. It also features Roccat’s soft-touch surface and illumination system.

[INFO] RRP: TBC Release Date: November 27th Distributor: Meroncourt Contact: 01462 680 060

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tel: 01628 509047 www.pdp.com

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

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

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

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

Andrew Day, CEO

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aday@keywordsintl.com

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

KEYWORDS STUDIOS GROUP is a leading video game globalisation company with studios in Montreal, Seattle, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Singapore, New Delhi, London, Rome, Milan and Dublin. Working on a worldwide basis, we provide a range of linguistic, QA, audio and multilingual customer support services to video game developers and publishers alike. The Keywords Studios Group includes the renowned brands of Keywords International, Babel, Binari Sonori and Liquid Violet. This uniquely positions us as the world leader in video game services, and enables us to offer an unrivaled range of flexible services to suit all clients’ needs. In our 10 studios we have over 1,000 employees, and we can perform translation and QA in over 45 languages across all available platforms, from PC to console to mobile.

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


DIRECTORY

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

CREATIVE Fink ................................................................. info@ďŹ nkcreative.com

GAMING ACCESSORIES DISC REPAIR

L3I.................................................................................. 01923 881000

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

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Tel: +44 (0) 1202 489500

November 13th 2015

Web: www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk

38

www.mcvuk.com


DIRECTORY

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

FINK

CREATIVE

DISTRIBUTION

CLICK ENTERTAINMENT

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

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email: sales@click-entertainment.com

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

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Web: www.enarxis.eu

Tel: +44 (0) 207 462 6200

39

Web: www.sonydadc.com

November 13th 2015


DIRECTORY

GAMING ACCESSORIES

L3I

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VENOM

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

Tel: +44 (0)1763 284181 November 13th 2015

40

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

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


INSIDER’S GUIDE

INSIDER’S GUIDE ALTERNATIVE SOFTWARE

DIRECTORY

WHO? Specialism: Publishing Location: The Studios, Colorado Way, Castleford, West Yorkshire, WF10 4TA

Develop is the only dedicated publication for the UK and European games development community. It reaches over 300,000 subscribers every month.

Managing director Roger Hulley explains why the 30-year-old publisher is a ‘Goldilocks’ company

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

Your firm is 30 years old; what does the business do today? We continue to both develop, publish, market and distribute our own games, as well as activity print titles. We also work closely with indie developers and established games publishers to ensure that all revenue streams for the titles they place with us are maximised.

THIS MONTH’S DIRECTORY SPOTLIGHT: MHT TV GAME................................................................. gerry@mhtgame.com

What have been your most recent successes? We took Rugby League Live 3 to the number nine spot on the All Formats Chart. Plus, Rugby League Team Manager 2015 has spent some 17 weeks in the Top 20 PC games chart. What are you working on? Development-wise, we are currently completing our exciting new mobile and tablet game Skilly Ball. We are also finalising a new mobile version of the classic game Skool Daze, for which we own the rights. What changes in the games market are impacting you? The continuing exponential growth of the mobile and tablet games market, where we hope to be able to make our presence felt. Plus, the growth of digital distribution via downloads – although we fully intend to keep our feet in the boxed sector, as we believe both can work together. Many gamers still prefer to own a boxed version. What are you looking forward to in 2016? To be included in the Develop Directory (which appears every month in Develop and now every week in MCV) contact cnangle@nbmedia.com

Many gamers still prefer to own a boxed version of their games. We are excited about new opportunities to revisit the extensive catalogue of games and IP that we have built up over the last 30 years. How did you get your name? It was a name thought up all those years ago to express that we presented an alternative to the larger labels at that time. I believe it still works today. We are a ‘Goldilocks’ company in many ways: not too large, and yet not too small. Tell us something about your company that nobody knows. For over 20 years, Tony Smith, the manager of Genesis, Phil Collins and other major music stars, was one of our directors.

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

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

Contact: W: alternativesoftware.com E: customersupport@alternativesoftware.com P: 01977 555 000 T: @AlternSoftware

41

November 13th 2015


FACTFILE URUGUAY Sponsored by

INTERNATIONAL FACTFILE: URUGUAY Population: 3,324,460 Capital City: Montevideo Currency: Peso GDP (Per Capita): $16,996 KEY RETAILERS GameStop, Triforce Gaming Store, TS Electronica TOP DISTRIBUTORS Juegos de Video de Latinoamérica

TOP DEVELOPERS Ironhide Game Studio, Batovi Games Studio, KefSensei Studios, Mystery Studio, Powerful Robot Games PUBLISHERS IN THE REGION Sony, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Take-Two

has become a fast-growing URUGUAY is quietly blossoming market for games production, into a ripe games market, mainly due to important tax despite its small size. incentives for the development of With a total population of less software and Free Trade Zones, than half of London, Uruguay’s which allow companies to provide games industry has struggled to services such as programming, root a strong console audience. with no tax in Uruguay to third The PS4 launched for $1,199 parties outside the country.” (£780) in the country in 2013. Gonzalo Frasca, writing in Hernán Almada, PlayStation’s ‘Video Games Around The product manager in the region, World’, adds that Uruguay has told local media outlet El Pais traditionally that simply prospered in bringing the the production machine to of ‘nonmarket was “very entertainment’ difficult” and titles, thanks required “favours to its strong from several education system other countries”. – in 2010, it Because of this difficulty, World Intellectual became one of mobile Property Organisation the first countries in South America development to offer a degree has thrived. in video game design. One of Uruguay’s best-known Investment has also boosted the developers is Ironhide Game development sector. Government Studio, which created the initiative Plan Ceibal, which successful iOS, Android and PC previously created the ‘One Laptop title Kingdom Rush. Per Child’ campaign, promotes A 2013 report from the World the creation of educational Intellectual Property Organisation games by hosting competitions (WIPO) on ‘The Legal Status of open to local developers. Video Games’ notes that: “Uruguay

Uruguay has become a fastgrowing market for games production.

November 13th 2015

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URUGUAY FACTFILE

MEANWHILE IN... NORTH AMERICA The view of gaming as a primarily male pursuit has been once again questioned, as it’s revealed that more women own consoles in the US THE stereotypical assumption that more men play console video games than women has been disproved by yet another statistic. A new study from the Pew Research Centre, entitled the Technology Device Ownership 2015 report, found that 42 per cent of American women own a games console, contrasted with 37 per cent of men. Altogether, 40 per cent of US adults own a console. Ownership unsurprisingly rises among younger consumers: 56 per cent of those aged 18 to 29 own a machine, compared to 55 per cent of 30 to 49-year-olds,

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30 per cent of those aged between 50 and 64, and just eight per cent of 65 and overs. The chance of console ownership also rose with average household income, as well as among ethnic groups.

Mobile was additionally studied, the report ďŹ nding that ownership of smartphones has risen to 68 per cent from 35 per cent in 2011.

November 13th 2015


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

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

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

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

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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

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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

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OFF THE RECORD

OFF THE RECORD This week, Call of Duty is the new Black, royalty dips its toes in game development and SpecialEffect pays a visit to UKIE PAINT THE TOWN BLACK Another November, another Call of Duty launch. And, as with past releases, Activision spared no expense in its launch efforts, hosting a big party at One Mayfair in London with guests including a gaggle of famous streamers and future Spider-Man, Tom Holland. Meanwhile, GAME held midnight launches around the country. A competition in its Westfield Stratford store saw one lucky winner transported to the event in London where they got the chance to play on-stage. (And presumably show up all of the celebrity fans.)

THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF DEVELOPMENT The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (better known as William and Kate) met up-and-coming game developers during a visit to Dundee. The winners of BAFTA’s Young Game Designers competition, Camylle Tuliao, Jack Reynolds, Louis Jackson and Jack Mills, spent the day at Abertay University and were among the promising game creators to meet the royal visitors. Apparently our future king is a huge fan of ‘pwning noobs’ on Call of Duty. (This may not be true.)

QUITE THE ‘EFFECT Last month, charity SpecialEffect visited the HQ of industry trade body UKIE to meet with Justin Tomlinson MP, Minister for Disabled People, and Chris White MP, MP for Warwick and Leamington and Chair of the AllParty Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Video Games. SpecialEffect took the opportunity to show the politicians how they utilise specialist adaptive technology to allow people with disabilities to play games on a level platform.

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November 13th 2015


OFF THE RECORD I would just love a HD remake of World at War and Black Ops 1.

7KHEHVW&DOORI'XW\ games were the WWII YHUVLRQVVR,UHDOO\ZDQW some more of them. Loved the Brit campaigns.

Nathan @NathanAvie /RUGRIWKH5LQJVEXW with lots of bots on both VLGHVFRQWUROOHGE\D dedicated server. Civil war and have kill streaks like smallpox and tuberculosis.

:(¡9(+$'::,, $1')8785,67,& 6+(1$1,*$16 %87:+$76+28/' &$//2)'87<'21(;7" #GMGASKS

CaptainTrueTanker @TrueTanker &DOORI'XW\0XWDQW Warfare! With mutants and space and future. Or CoD Neanderthal Ops for the prehistoric fans.

Nzallidan @realnzall Open-world survival FPS? 7KH\ÂśYHJRWWKH=RPELHV down for sure.

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Vaughn Whiskey @VaughnWhiskey IRLAlex @inreallifealex

%HVWEHWLVVSDFHVFLÂż with Sticks and Stones as DVSLQRIIRUIXOORXWFUD]\ IDQWDV\DVDVSLQRII

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Brett Russell @AHoopyFrood42

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