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RIP XBOX 360

2005-2016

THE BUSINESS OF VIDEO GAMES ISSUE 876 FRIDAY APRIL 29TH 2016

PETER MOORE, ROBBIE BACH AND CHRIS LEWIS SPEAK P06

Angry Birds is back A new game. A Hollywood film. Deals with McDonalds, LEGO and H&M. Rovio spends millions to recapture the franchise’s former glory

by Alex Calvin FINNISH games giant Rovio is spending millions to make Angry Birds a smash hit once again. Today (Thursday April 28th), the firm is launching Angry Birds Action, a new free-to-play pinball arcade title for smartphones that ties in with the upcoming Angry Birds animated movie, which arrives in the UK next month. Rovio tells MCV that it believes Angry Birds can even recapture its former popularity. “Angry Birds can absolutely be as big as it was,” said CCO Alex Lambeek. “But now we are moving from being really hot in games to being a hot property in

entertainment. It is a much broader space. We will have a wider appeal than we have ever had before. In that sense, we will be bigger than we have ever been before.” Action will contain a further 24 mini-games that are accessed by scanning special QR Bird Codes. The firm says that there will be more than one billion Bird Codes globally, including some found on Angry Birds tie-in products with brands such as LEGO, McDonalds, H&M, Toys R Us, Ravensburger’s and Peperami. All of this centres on the film, which is coming to UK cinemas on Friday, May 13th. “We are experiencing a big resurgence in popularity with the

movie coming out and appealing to a broader audience than purely through the games – though they are still core to our business,” Lambeek said. “The movie will make everyone interested in Angry Birds and we’ll be relevant to everyone. Of course, we have ambitions beyond the movie as well. “The Angry Bird Movie is going to be one of the biggest blockbuster animation films of year. It’ll be right up there. Whether it is the biggest or not is hard to predict in the movie world, but the feedback we’ve had to the trailers and from the few people who have seen the film has been fantastic.”

PLUS GEARBOX TALKS BATTLEBORN „ ACCESSORIES FIRMS ON THE IMPACT OF VR


NEWS

Psyonix: Cross-platform play is good for eSports Developer eager to let PS4 players compete with Xbox One owners in order to unite the Rocket League fanbase by Alex Calvin ROCKET LEAGUE studio Psyonix says that PS4 and Xbox One players being able to compete with each other will be a big boost to the eSports industry. The firm’s VP of marketing and communications Jeremy Dunham has told MCV that the No.1 reason the studio is urging Sony and Microsoft to allow for crossplatform play is so it can unite Rocket League’s large fanbase. In March, ID@Xbox director Chris Charla said that Xbox would be enabling developers to support cross-network play – hinting that future games could have online functionality that allows PSN and Xbox Live users to play together. Psyonix has since said it already has the tech

Psyonix’s Dunham says crossplatform play will boost eSports

needed to bridge the two networks. The studio already allows for cross-platform play between PS4 and PC, and will be introducing the same functionality between Xbox One and PC in the coming weeks.

“We are a very communityfocused game with a huge audience,” Dunham said. “We have millions upon millions of active players every month. One of the premier features we have had since the original launch is we have been cross-network between

GAME to launch in-store digital Marketplace kiosks OVER 100,000 new products will be accessible via GAME’s High Street shops. The firm is trialling in-store kiosks in the coming months, which will give customers access to the firm’s Marketplace offering. GAME Marketplace launched last year. Similar to Amazon, the service allows other retailers and partners to sell products (preowned or new) via the GAME website. Over 100 partners have signed up, selling everything from merchandise to retro games. “In 2016 we plan to trial in-store digital Marketplace kiosks to showcase this range and further link our online and in-store proposition,” UK managing director Charlotte Knight told MCV. She added that the physical store continues to offer something that the website currently cannot.

April 29th 2016

“Customers like the convenience of buying online but physical space is still essential to our business model at GAME,” she said. “We continue to drive strong engagement through our stores by creating a place which brings our gaming community together.” For more from GAME, turn to page 26.

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PlayStation 4 and PC, and it’s been a great feature and has given people much higher-quality matches and lets them matchmake faster.” “It gives you a lot of options and now that we are doing a lot of our really strong eSports initiatives, it also means that we can have gamers on multiple platforms playing in the same competition without having to divide it all up or force them to start their own separate leagues. “One of the big advantages of reaching a point where all three platforms could play against each other at the same time is a true worldwide best-of competition, and people would see even more players online to compete against. It’s good for competition, it’s good to have a large healthy community.”

New home for Bandai Namco UK

THE UK arm of Dark Souls publisher Bandai Namco is moving. The firm is leaving its home in Hammersmith after 17 years for a new office in Richmond. From May 9th, the company will be situated at 37 to 39 Kew Foot Road, Richmond, TW9 2SS. You can reach the publisher on 0208 324 6040.

www.mcvuk.com


NEWS

UK gaming headset sales up 12%

THE EDITOR

But wider accessory sales is down so far this year by Marie Dealessandri THE likes of Turtle Beach will be toasting another successful year, if the latest data from GfK is anything to go by. Headset sales are up by almost 12 per cent so far this year, the stat tracker says. It comes in contrast to the wider accessories business, which is having a mixed year. Unit sales are down 3.3 per cent for the year-to-date, while revenue is up 2.6 per cent.

“Headsets are up 11.9 per cent in units and 3.1 per cent in revenue,” Chris Poole, senior account manager at GfK, told MCV. He added that controller sales have declined 8.3 per cent in units so far this year. Poole explains: “The feeling is that gamers have been less inclined to buy extra controllers as they are playing online more, where headsets are needed for new titles like The Division.” You can read more about the UK accessories market on page 30.

XBOX 360: A CONSOLE THAT DEFINED AN INDUSTRY

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vividly remember buying my Xbox 360 in the summer of 2007. Up until that point, I had only really owned Nintendo consoles, but a friend had shown me BioShock and I was incredibly impressed. So I popped into my local Zavvi to spend £300 on a console and a copy of the game. What followed was the best Christmas of gaming I’ve ever experienced. 2007 was the year Halo 3 became the biggest entertainment launch ever (until GTA IV nine months later), it was a time when the world first discovered Portal. It was a period when Ubisoft gave us Assassin’s Creed. And it was the Christmas where Call of Duty went modern, and set that series on a path to global domination. From its stunning HD visuals to its compelling online service – things we all take for granted today – Xbox 360 was a revelation. Now, over ten years later and more than 80m consoles sold, the 360 era is over. It may seem so short a time after the arrival of Xbox One, but that just speaks to how fast this new generation has moved. And almost 11 years is an impressive age for any platform, only the PS2 – with its near 13-year run – beats it. Xbox 360 was not the most popular console of its era, that prize belongs to Wii. But what it achieved with online console gaming, with its Xbox Live Arcade indie games, with its regular software updates, and in introducing services that went

GfK’s Poole says that gamers are playing online more, where headsets are needed

SPONSORED BY

PRE-ORDER TOP 10

1

UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END LAUNCH EDITION (PS4)

2

Mafia III inc. Family Kick-back pre-order bonus (PS4)

3

Gears of War 4 (XO)

Microsoft

4

Kirby Planet Robobot + Amiibo bundle (3DS)

Nintendo

5

No Man’s Sky (PS4)

6

Mafia III inc. Family Kick-back pre-order bonus (XO)

2K Games

7

Battleborn inc. Firstborn Pack (PS4)

2K Games

8

Battleborn inc. Firstborn Pack (XO)

2K Games

9

Valkyria Chronicles Europa Edition (PS4)

10

Doom inc. Demon Multiplayer Pack (PS4)

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SONY

2K Games

Sony

Sega Bethesda

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beyond the world of games, has become the blueprint for the modern games device. Xbox 360 sits alongside the original PlayStation as a machine that has defined today’s games business. And it’ll never be forgotten. WHEREFORE ART THOU ROVIO? It’s alarming how quick we all forgot about Angry Birds. It was the smartphone game for so long. I recall a previous MCV column where we called it: ‘the iPhone’s answer to Mario’. Except Mario is now 35 and still proving indomitable, whereas Angry Birds is a meagre six, and struggling for relevance in a market dominated by Candy Crush and Clash of Clans. To operate the biggest mobile game today, you’ll need an army of scientist to analyse every inch of your customer data, and then to spend millions on expensive Hollywood talent to promote it. Rovio clearly recognises the need to go big or go home if it wants to re-establish Angry Birds. And on a surface level, what it’s doing this summer points to a firm that is committed to the cause. Yet take a closer look, and you’ll see that Rovio is more obsessed with its movie than the games. This isn’t a company that wants to take down Supercell, it has its beady eyes fixed on Pixar and Dreamworks. Should it prove successful, then Angry Birds could become a brand more synonymous with the cinema, or Nickelodeon, or Toys R Us, than the App Store. cdring@nbmedia.com

April 29th 2016


THE STORY OF XBOX 360

How Xbox 360 changed everything As Microsoft calls time on its Xbox 360 console, Christopher Dring speaks with former Xbox leaders Robbie Bach, Peter Moore and Chris Lewis to discuss how the machine came to be

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ack in 2004, Xbox VP Peter Moore spent two days pretending to be PlayStation CEO Ken Kutaragi. During the planning stages of Xbox 360, Moore (who now works at EA) and his fellow Microsoft employees – including former Xbox president Robbie Bach and chief technology officer J Allard – had hired a consultant to put together a role-playing ‘simulation’. “Everybody was playing a different role, some of us were Sony, there were people who were Nintendo, third-party publishers, Microsoft, and so on,” Bach says. “We went through that simulation and learnt a lot. We came out concerned that PlayStation was going to be more powerful and the performance difference was going to be too high. So we added things to Xbox 360 to make it better. We also put a lot of emphasis on games, irrespective of whether Microsoft

produced them or a third-party company did. In the simulation, those were the two things that proved to be the key parameters that determined whether the game was won or lost. “The changes we made as a result turned out to be crucial.” XBOX MISTAKES The simulation was part of a desire from Microsoft to fix the myriad of issues it faced with its original Xbox. “The first Xbox was quite successful in some ways,” remembers Bach. “Some markets, including the UK, had about 20 to 25 per cent market share, which was pretty good for a first time console. But financially it was not good at all and the company lost a lot of money.” Moore adds: “People forget that the Xbox, the big black original one, did ok, but it didn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of Sony, Sega or

Nintendo. What we needed was to explode out of the blocks, to create something that got ahead of the competition, that felt very superior, that had great content, but broader than that, to build community.” Bach continues: “The original Xbox was not designed as thoughtfully as it should have been. It wasn’t designed to be cost reduced. We ended up chasing Sony on the price curve, and the costs were very high and it lost the company a lot of money. “The first Xbox was also not a thing of beauty. It was big and black and had these funny vents on the side, and the world’s largest game controller. With Xbox 360, we wanted a sleeker look, we wanted it smaller, we made it white so it could be the real opposite of the first Xbox.” “We also had a funny approach of how to launch the first Xbox. We really focused everything on that

first Christmas in 2001. We tried to get as many publishers as possible to ship games, we had something like 20 games at launch, which was a lot. But unfortunately not many of those games made money, and it was almost 12 months before we had any more good games. “What we did with Xbox 360, is that we said our launch is the first two holidays, and not just the first holiday. That literally meant we told publishers to hold titles back. Which was fortuitous, because we had a pretty good line-up when Sony launched PlayStation 3 a year after we did. “Finally, we concluded that console pricing mattered a lot. That’s not rocket science, but with the original Xbox we thought we could sell it at a premium compared with PS2. So with 360, we said: “People will pay extra for high quality games, but not consoles.” So we had to make


THE STORY OF XBOX 360

sure that everything that’s in there is valued, useful and important. And everything that is not, don’t include it. That is why we didn’t do Blu-ray discs.” LIVE WIRE The first Xbox wasn’t a complete failure. There were a couple of successes that Bach wanted to transfer across to 360. “Basically,” he says. “Halo and Xbox Live.” Moore remembers: “We were going to charge for Xbox Live when our competition was free with the belief that we could take that revenue and reinvest in features, and back-end infrastructure, and constantly updating the system to get where Xbox Live is today. “I can tell you, there was a lot of blood, sweat and tears going along the way, and a lot of learning about churn and attrition and keeping massive networks up around the world and global billing systems and customer service. It was a tonne of work, of which there was no template and no blueprint that we could call upon.” Bach continues: “Xbox Live was the social network before MySpace and Facebook existed. The things you do on there, voice, communication, friends list, play games with others, share things... all of the things you do on Xbox Live started in 2002. If you think of it in that context, it is quite a

Moore on stage at Xbox Summit 2005 in Japan before the Xbox 360’s launch

revolutionary thing. It changed the games industry.” GOING FOR GAMES During that role-playing simulation from 2004, Xbox’s management team discovered that Sony would likely be working hard to win over Activision, EA and Ubisoft. So Bach and Moore went on a charm offensive of their own. “One of the great things was the content we finally managed to get on the box - Grand Theft Auto was one of those moments, people today forget that that was a PlayStation exclusive,” says

I infamously said: ‘First to a 10m install base wins’. You look back over the ten years, and see Xbox 360 did very well. Peter Moore, former Xbox

Moore. “And the work we did with Activision on Call of Duty, and getting Infinity Ward and Treyarch closely tied-in with Xbox 360.” Bach adds: “There were a number of targeted titles that we pinpointed, which we said were the places where we needed to make things work. If you look over the lifecycle, Xbox had a content advantage.” Xbox 360 came out a year before PS3, it had a stronger lineup and a cheaper price (“When we knew they were going to be $100 more expensive than we were... We knew we were in a strong


THE STORY OF XBOX 360

THE XBOX 360 IN MCVS MAY 13TH, 2005 Microsoft unveils the Xbox 360 at a star-studded MTV event in the US. “The idea behind [the 360 name] is that this is a product that’s going to revolve around the gamer,” then-Xbox chief Robbie Bach told MCV.

JULY 13TH, 2007 Following the rise of the now-infamous Red Ring of Death hardware issue, Microsoft introduced a new three-year warranty deal.

NOVEMBER 24TH, 2006 Iconic Xbox 360 series Gears of Wars makes its debut in the UK, claiming 23.2 per cent of all software sales in its launch week. Former Xbox Europe boss Lewis (top) and Xbox chief Bach (above)

position,” says Bach). But Xbox still had a perception problem. It was viewed as a platform for real hardcore gamers, and the association with Microsoft was not proving to be a strength. So in early 2003, Bach recruited Peter Moore – who had experience at Sega with the Dreamcast – to lead the firm’s marketing. “There was an unspoken philosophical relationship between the Dreamcast and Xbox, as regards online and building out communities,” Moore says. “I met with [former Microsoft boss] Steve Ballmer and we talked about what I had gone through with Dreamcast, and some of the challenges that I foresaw Microsoft would face.” It wasn’t long before Moore was working on 360’s launch strategy. “I sat down with Robbie and Bill Gates and said: ‘We are just not

April 29th 2016

rooms by themselves playing video games. And Xbox had even more of that perception than PlayStation did. So our whole intent was to make this a bit more of an entertainment play, hence MTV.” However, Bach and Moore were acutely aware of not alienating the core gaming community. “We wanted to be player’s first almost ironically as I sit here at EA now, because that’s our mantra,” continues Moore. “I said to my marketing team – and we were maybe eight weeks from launch, god bless them – I said: ‘Rather than just make it the usual retail launch, why don’t we bring our gamers in and give them an advanced peek?’ So we brought in Best Buy and we did this thing called Zero Hour. We found some hangars in the California desert that had this very Area 51-type look and feel. It was

going to see Microsoft as part of this’. We kind of buried the Microsoft name, it’s somewhere at the back of the box,” Moore says. “We wanted to give a consumer-friendly face to Microsoft via Xbox.” Moore also wanted to make Xbox appeal to a broader market, and in May 2005 he teamed up with MTV to announce the 360 with a star-studded show. “We had Snow Patrol, Kasabian, The Killers, Fatboy Slim, we made it a celebration primarily of gaming, but it was also a broader entertainment play,” Moore says. “We needed to be part of the living room, and we knew we needed to get permission from mums, wives and girlfriends that this thing belonged in the living room.” Bach adds: “The industry had a bit of a perception of being for young geeks that sit in living

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24-hours before launch, and we invited everybody who could get there to come and play all kinds of games. Then Best Buy came in and anyone could buy one at the stroke of midnight.” THE RED RING OF DEATH Xbox 360’s launch was strong, and things were looking good... until a disaster struck that almost killed the platform. “The whole Red Ring of Death thing was bad from a customer experience perspective, for sure, but I will tell you that the way we addressed the problem and the work we did to make sure our customers were happy... that was a big deal,” says Bach. “It’s a funny thing. Xbox 360 is our highest customer satisfaction product that I’ve ever worked on, and yet, we had a billion-dollar

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THE STORY OF XBOX 360

NOVEMBER 21ST, 2008 JUNE 28TH 2013 Following a price cut and heavy marketing, Xbox 360 claimed it was outselling PS3 in the UK and Europe. Microsoft’s machine had sold seven million units across EMEA at this point.

Xbox 360 became the best-selling console of the last generation in the UK, outstripping Nintendo’s hugely popular Wii hardware, according to GfK data.

OCTOBER 5TH, 2007

JUNE 5TH, 2009

Halo 3 launches, generating a whopping £17 million for UK games retail in its first week on sale. The title was bought by one-in-three Xbox 360 owners.

Microsoft unveils Project Natal, the peripheral that would become known as Kinect. We said it was ‘E3’s most talked about reveal’.

write off because of a product quality problem. It just goes to show you that people loved Xbox 360, and they wanted to play it. It is a defining element of what happened, the team took what could have been a huge roadblock, and turned it into something that allowed the product to go forward.” He continues: “I do a lot of public speaking now where I talk about perseverance, and I use the Red Ring of Death as an example. If you knew what had to happen behind the scenes to replace all those consoles... it would blow you away. The effort on behalf of the team, the extra hours that they put in, the crazy, special things we figured out what to do in order to make the logistics work... it was incredible.” It may have hurt Microsoft’s bottom line, but ultimately Xbox 360 endured. The machine’s

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EURO CHAMPIONS

current sales are almost 85m, a feat that far exceeded its expectations. “Did we want to beat Sony? Of course. But it was tough to tell the team that we were going to do that, because PlayStation had 65 per cent market share and we had 25 per cent,” admits Bach. “But if you tell people that we are going to sell double the number of consoles than we did last time, that seemed possible. And in the end Xbox 360 did four times as many consoles as the original Xbox.” Moore says: “I infamously said: ‘First to 10m install base wins’, and you’d probably look back over the ten years, and see it did very well.” He concludes: “Today, when we think about online and digital, a lot of that wouldn’t have happened without Xbox 360. We are all now reaping the benefits of that as an industry.”

EUROPE became a major area of focus for Xbox when developing the 360. The first Xbox was moderately successful in the UK, but across continental Europe things were looking bleak. The team was eager to fix that, and even got involved with the console’s design to improve sales. “Given the finished article with its concave form, chrome accents – we were very proud of that, and it reflected our European consumer tastes,” says Chris Lewis, who was Xbox’s head of Europe at the time. “As the European leader, it was crucial for me personally to be loud and clear in terms of what we needed in marketing, pricing, investments – and to bang the drum that our

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performance in Europe could make or break our global success. “We’d taken some knocks in Europe, but learned valuable lessons. There was a determination and strength of resolve going into the 360 launch that wasn’t just blind faith. We knew we had a console that allowed us to talk about consumer choice in terms of different hardware configurations, high definition game experiences, some really strong content – in particular for Europe, where football, shooters and racing games are so strong. “We’d hired well across the region, plus we had plans for opening up more markets – in the right timeframe – across the region.”

April 29th 2016


CHEAT SHEET

UP & DOWN

Market Data Despite strong sales for Ratchet & Clank, UK software revenue fell 28 per cent

£10m

£30m £5m

£9m 296,911 units

DARK SOULS III falls to No.2 with an 80 per cent sales dip in its second week

£9m 266,840 units £6.2m 209,773 units

Week Ending April 9th

Week Ending April 16th

Week Ending April 23rd

STAR WARS Battlefront jumps nine places to No.3 with a 177 per cent sales increase

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK THIS WEEK: BATTLEBORN

[INFO] FORMATS: PS4, XO, PC RELEASED: May 3rd PUBLISHER: 2K Games DISTRIBUTOR: Exertis CONTACT: 01279 822 800

April 29th 2016

2K GAMES has planned a huge campaign to push its new online shooter Battleborn. The firm has been using traditional media channels and has bolstered the campaign with colourful creative to bring mainstream gamers on-board. Ads have been appearing on London Underground, as well as during the Game of Thrones Season Six premiere. Marketing creative will also be appearing alongside upcoming football games. In addition, the publisher has been working with its community and key social media influencers. These personalities have been making content around Battleborn through an Early Access scheme, consumer shows and sessions at 2K’s Bunker in Windsor. To push the release towards core gamers, 2K also did a takeover on Twitch during Battleborn’s open

Ads for Battleborn ran alongside the Season Six premiere of Game of Thrones

beta, which saw developer Gearbox Software playing with and against ‘key social media advocates’. “Battleborn has 25 largerthan-life characters with a wide array of play-styles and abilities, meaning there is something for everyone in this game,” 2K head of marketing and PR for the UK Simon Turner told MCV.

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“Each of these characters can be played in the story mode, which spans eight intense missions as well as in the competitive online mode. “In addition, we know how much gamers loved the loot in the Borderlands series and they will not be disappointed, Battleborn contains a slew of in game items and loot to be earned as you play.”

www.mcvuk.com


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

AMAZON ROLLS OUT PRIME-EXCLUSIVE GAMES

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Online retail giant Amazon has made a number of titles, including Grand Theft Auto V, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and Battlefield Hardline, exclusive to Prime subscribers. This only applies if consumers are purchasing directly from Amazon – non-Prime subscribers can still buy from third party sellers.

Dark Souls: The Board Game hit its Kickstarter goal of £50,000 in just three minutes. At the time of writing, it has raised £1.5m

25% @cleaverslips If you’re a publisher and Amazon start paywalling the product you’re trying to sell, surely you’d be well pissed too.

@apacherose3 Well I won’t be shopping at Amazon anymore.

Sam Loveridge, Digital Spy Friday, April 22nd

Sean Cleaver, freelance journalist Friday, April 22nd

MORE DETAILS EMERGE ABOUT NEW PS4

NIS AMERICA CUTS TIES WITH ATLUS

Giant Bomb reports that Sony’s mid-gen PlayStation 4 upgrade is called Neo, and is launching in October. All future games need to ship with a ‘Neo’ mode, for the new machine, as well as ‘Base’ for original PS4s.

Publisher NIS America will no longer be releasing games from Japanese firm Atlus in Europe. NISA boss Takuro Yamashita said since its purchase by Sega, Atlus had become difficult to work with.

@Just_Ge0 I’m on the fence with all this PS4 “Neo” talk. It’s cool because who doesn’t want more power, but odd because it’s really not been that long. George Morgan, Sold Out Tuesday, April 19th

Developer Owlchemy Labs has cut the price of its VR title Job Simulator by 25 per cent

5 Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida has said – speaking to Oddworld’s Lorne Lanning – that he isn’t sure there will a PlayStation 5

£526 Consumers wanting to buy all of Dead or Alive 5: Last Round’s costume DLC on PC will have to pay out £526

@ODDERZinnit Guys, this doesn’t mean we’ll never see Atlus games in Europe again. It just means NISA won’t publish. It’ll likely be Sega. Calm down.

Dave Aubrey, freelance journalist Monday, April 25th

@notaxation A trusted source tells me most developers are not happy with PS4.5, and having to develop around it. Extra cost, planning, other nonsense.

@SayemAhmd Of course Atlus would drop NIS America, it’s owned by Sega.

Sayem Ahmed, Green Man Gaming Monday, April 25th

Colin Moriarty, Kinda Funny Tuesday, April 19th

£100m GAME has secured a £100m loan from Lajedosa. This is a new asset-back deal to give the retailer flexibility ANKA Headset - PDP Design and manufacture the Officially licensed Microsoft – fully Wireless Headset for Xbox ONE

europesales@pdp.com

www.pdp.com

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

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CAPCOM & NUMSKULL SALE

GAMESAID GOLF DAY

STAND UP FOR GAMESAID

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Publisher Capcom and merchandise firm Numskull is reducing their Street Fighter range of merchandise by up to 60 per cent for the Bank Holiday weekend. 100 per cent of the proceeds from this will be going to GamesAid.

The annual GamesAid golf and spa day returns on July 14th. Since its debuts in 2008 the event has raised more than £375,000. Tickets can be booked on golfandspaday.com or by contacting Keeley Munden at keeley2703@hotmail.com.

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Games industry comedy night Stand Up For GamesAid returns to London’s Comedy Store on May 9th. The event will be hosted by GamesAid patron and comedian Imran Yusuf. Tickets are available on thecomedystore.co.uk and cost £15.

April 29th 2016


MARKET MOVES

APPOINTMENTS

New marketing exec for Koei Tecmo Mills joins from Stature PR OIGN promotes Krupa to UK managing editor OGameSpot appoints video producer KOEI TECMO | The Dead or Alive publisher has hired NATHAN MILLS as its new PR and marketing executive for the UK. Mills stated: “After obtaining a first class honours degree in computer games design at Staffordshire University, I’ve had the pleasure to work in PR for a variety of clients. Joining Koei Tecmo is a huge and exciting opportunity for me. “As a lifelong gamer and fan of its titles, I am eager to work alongside the team on their upcoming releases.” He added: “Having previously worked at Stature PR on clients such as Bandai Namco, Warner Bros, Garmin and BAFTA, as well

April 29th 2016

as several technology-based clients at Wildfire PR, I am looking forward to putting my experience to the test, as well as learn from a strong team.”

“IGN’s evolving in some really cool ways – new platforms, entirely new types of coverage – and to help shape that is a brilliant and exciting challenge.”

IGN | Former IGN UK games editor DANIEL KRUPA has been promoted to UK managing editor. Krupa first joined the company in 2011 as staff writer and has been the UK games editor for the past two years. He commented: “I’m thrilled with the new role, which has come just a month shy of my five-year anniversary at IGN. We have a brilliant team and I’ve never been more excited to be here.

GAMESPOT | DAVE JEWITT has been appointed as GameSpot’s video producer. He joined the firm only nine months ago as junior video producer, arriving from GGS Gamer where he worked as a staff writer for two years. Jewitt commented: “This time last year I was making Let’s Plays and game previews on YouTube from a tiny bedroom in Wales, and now I get to work with what I truly believe to be some of the most talented and

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hardworking men and women in games coverage right now. “To say I’m over the moon would be an understatement.” POLE TO WIN | Industry veteran ADAM ROBERTS has been named European head of sales at QA firm Pole to Win International. Roberts left the games industry in 2012 after over 20 years. He previously held exec roles at Vivendi, D3P and THQ. “Adam’s knowledge of the games industry is second to none. His in-depth experience will be invaluable in helping PTW grow,” said senior VP of sales and marketing BECKY WALKER.

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OPINION

ANALYSIS

How advertisers can make the most of the digital games revolution consumer attitudes towards digital advertising are positive, and with the targeting capabilities of online to serve ads that are relevant to consumers, digital ads and games go hand-in-hand.

Generation Media’s digital media executive SAM CLUTTERBUCK looks at what advertisers need to be aware of within the digital games space

B

ritain is a nation of gamers. In the youth space, over 50 per cent of kids aged seven to 14 regularly play games (Youth TGI, 2016). The digital revolution has made gaming even more accessible, from consoles to mobile platforms, more people are playing games than ever before. What’s more intriguing than the numbers - an estimated 33m people play games – is the array of people playing. Driven by smartphone apps, an IAB report revealed that females account for over half of online gamers. The same report also highlighted there are now more people over 44 years old playing games (27 per cent of gamer population) than children and teenagers (22 per cent). Over half of people aged 45 to 54 have played a game in the last six months along with 44 per cent of 55 to 64 year-olds. If gaming brands do not reach out to these non-traditional audiences then they are missing out on potential customers. In terms of attitudes of gamers towards online ads, research has highlighted that among people that play games, respondents felt that online ads were the best way to help them make a purchase decision, with 40 per cent signifying digital compared to 29 per cent on TV. This is indicative of how digital ads can streamline reach in a way that other media cannot. If

THE AD GAME In-game ads have become the stock model for mobile gaming. Consumer reluctance to part with cash to play games on mobile devices means acceptance that adverts will be par for the course. 75 per cent of gamers accept ads in a free app or online game and eight in 10 favour free games with ads rather than paying for an ad-free version. This develops an understanding between consumer and marketer that there is a responsibility to engage the audience. Kantar research indicated 80 per cent of gamers believed ads enhance the realism of a game. The

UK Total Media As Spending by Media (eMarketer, 2015)

Digital TV Other

uniquely captive nature of games means when we play, our attention is focused solely on that. Microsoft found that consequently 72 per cent of players recall ads they’ve seen for brands in-game, stressing the value in digital and gaming. Only cinema has better ad recall. For the first time last year we saw digital spend overtake TV – a landmark moment. Across all markets digital now makes up half of all ad spend. It is vital to ensure content in today’s media landscape is impactful and relevant, which in many ways leads to a digital approach. The more we see gaming moving to connected devices, the more your audience across console and mobile needs to be reached via digital. Gaming has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to digital but the need to innovate has never been greater.

Video Game Audience by Age 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50%

99% 89%

40%

72%

71%

30%

56% 44%

20% 10% 0%

9%

22% 16%

8-17

18-24

Source: IAB UK Gaming Revolution

18%

25-34

17%

32%

4%

14%

35-44

45-54 Played Game

55-64

65-74

Share of game audience

Generation Media is a Media Buying and Planning firm focused on the leisure and entertainment markets. You can contact the company on 0207 307 7900 www.mcvuk.com

11

April 29th 2016


WEEKLY SALES CHARTS

WEEKLY CHARTS PS4 exclusive Ratchet & Clank enters the UK charts at No.1. It’s the first title in Sony’s 14 year-old series to debut at the top. The reboot also beats the week one sales of 2009’s Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time, which held the record for the franchise until now. As a result, Bandai Namco’s Dark Souls III has been pushed down to No.2 after only one week at the top. The title endured a 80 per cent drop off in sales. Meanwhile, EA’s Star Wars Battlefront performed very well this week: the title climbed nine spots to No.3 and its sales increased by 177 per cent. The DVD/ Blu-ray release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens will have played an

important role in this good performance. This week’s chart also has three other new entries. Nintendo’s Star Fox Zero debuts at No.6, Rugby Challenge 3, published by Alternative Software, enters the listings at No.13 and Konami’s UEFA Euro 2016 Pro Evolution Soccer debuts at No.23, The release of the latter this week also boosted Pro Evolution Soccer 2016, which re-enters the charts at No.26. Over on mobile, Steve Howse’s Slither. io managed to top both iPhone and iPad free charts, outperforming Disney’s Crossy Road. Finally, Dark Souls III is still the leader of Steam’s listings, as Rocket League re-enters the charts at No.2.

GLOBAL STEAM CHARTS (UNITS)

01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW RE NEW 05 02 08 RE 07 RE 03

DARK SOULS III DEVELOPER: FROMSOFTWARE PUBLISHER: BANDAI NAMCO

TITLE Rocket League Battlefleet Gothic: Armada Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Dark Souls III Deluxe Edition Grand Theft Auto V Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Stardew Valley Factorio Final Fantasy IX

PUBLISHER Psyonix Focus Valve Bandai Namco Rockstar Ubisoft Chucklefish Wube Square Enix

TOP 40 UK PHYSICAL RETAIL 02

01

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

LW NEW 01 12 02 03 NEW 08 07 04 05 10 09 NEW 14 11 15 06 16 17 37 21 19 NEW 20 13 RE 31 23 18 32 24 29 22 30 33 27 28 RE 38 RE

04

05

Title Format Publisher Ratchet & Clank PS4 Sony Dark Souls III PS4, XO, PC Bandai Namco Star Wars Battlefront PS4, XO, PC EA Tom Clancy’s The Division PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft EA Sports UFC 2 PS4, XO EA Star Fox Zero Wii U Nintendo Call of Duty: Black Ops III PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Activision Blizzard FIFA 16 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC EA Quantum Break XO Microsoft Dirt Rally PS4, XO Codemasters LEGO Marvel’s Avengers PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, PC Warner Bros Grand Theft Auto V PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Rockstar Rugby Challenge 3 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Alternative LEGO Jurassic World PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita, PC Warner Bros Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 PS4, XO, PC EA WWE 2K16 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC 2K Games Far Cry Primal PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft Minecraft: Xbox Edition XO, 360 Microsoft Minecraft: Story Mode PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Telltale Games/Avanquest Forza Motorsport 6 XO Microsoft Destiny: The Taken King PS4, XO, PS3, 360 Activision Blizzard Minecraft: PlayStation Edition PS4, PS3, Vita Sony UEFA Euro 2016 Pro Evolution Soccer PS4, PS3 Konami Disney Infinity 3.0 PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360 Disney Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 PS4, XO, PS3, 360 Konami LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga PS3, 360, Wii, DS LucasArts Assassin’s Creed Syndicate PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft New Super Mario Bros + New Super Luigi Wii U Nintendo NBA 2K16 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC 2K Sports Fallout 4 PS4, XO, PC Bethesda PS4, XO, PC Warner Bros Batman: Arkham Knight MXGP2 – The Official Motocross Videogame PS4, XO, PC PQube Terraria PS4, XO, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita, PC 505 Games Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Konami Just Cause 3 PS4, XO, PC Square Enix Trackmania Turbo PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft Halo 5: Guardians XO Microsoft Bloodborne: Game of the Year Edition PS4 Sony Zoo Tycoon XO Microsoft

Source: Steam, Period: April 18th to 24th April 29th 2016

03

Source: UKIE/GfK Entertainment, Period: Week ending April 23rd 12

www.mcvuk.com


WEEKLY SALES CHARTS

UK IPAD PAID

01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW 02 RE NEW NEW 08 RE 03 RE RE

UK IPHONE PAID

(UNITS)

01

MINECRAFT: POCKET EDITION DEVELOPER: MOJANG

Title LEGO Jurassic World Radiation Island Ominous Objects: Phantom Reflection HD Mystery Trackers: Winterpoint Tragedy Terraria Chameleon Run Minecraft: Story Mode The Sims 3 Cut the Rope: Magic

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer Warner Bros Atypical Games Big Fish Big Fish 505 Games Noodlecake Studios Telltale EA ZeptoLab

LW 01 02 03 06 04 RE 07 10 RE

(UNITS)

RADIATION ISLAND DEVELOPER: ATYPICAL GAMES

Title Minecraft: Pocket Edition Heads Up! Monopoly Game Plague Inc. Football Manager Mobile 2016 Chameleon Run Bloons TD 5 The Chase Geometry Dash

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: April 11th to April 17th

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: April 11th to April 17th

UK IPAD GROSSING (REVENUE)

UK IPHONE GROSSING (REVENUE)

01

01

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW 02 03 04 06 07 05 08 10 09

CLASH OF CLANS DEVELOPER: SUPERCELL

Title Candy Crush Saga Game of War - Fire Age Candy Crush Soda Saga Mobile Strike Hay Day Clash Royale Gummy Drop! Boom Beach The Sims FreePlay

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer King Machine Zone King Epic War Supercell Supercell Big Fish Supercell EA

LW 01 03 04 05 06 07 08 10 RE

CLASH ROYALE DEVELOPER: SUPERCELL

Title Clash of Clans Candy Crush Saga Game of War - Fire Age Mobile Strike Candy Crush Soda Saga Candy Crush Jelly Saga Marvel Contest of Champions 8 Ball Pool Boom Beach

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: April 11th to April 17th

UK IPHONE FREE (UNITS)

01

01

LW 03 06 RE 05 10 NEW 04 RE RE

SLITHER.IO DEVELOPER: STEVE HOWSE

Title Disney Crossy Road Piano Tiles 2 Cut the Rope: Time Travel Color Switch Roblox Disney Infinity 3.0 Toy Box: Play Without Limits Driving School 2016 Despicable Me: Minion Rush Angry Birds 2

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer Disney Cheetah Technology ZeptoLab Marc Lejeune Roblox Corporation Disney Alexandru Marusac Gameloft Rovio Entertainment

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: April 11th to April 17th www.mcvuk.com

Developer Supercell King Supercell Epic War King King Kabam Miniclip.com Supercell

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: April 11th to April 17th

UK IPAD FREE (UNITS)

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer Mojang Warner Bros EA Ndemic Creations Sega Noodlecake Studios Ninja Kiwi Barnstorm Games RobTop Games

LW 06 NEW 02 01 05 RE 08 RE 03

SLITHER.IO DEVELOPER: STEVE HOWSE

Title Disney Crossy Road Move the Match - Matchstick Puzzles Stack Stupid Test! Color Switch Angry Birds 2 Piano Tiles 2 Cut the Rope: Time Travel Driving School 2016

Developer Disney PlayReap Studios Ketchapp Leigh Be Marc Lejeune Rovio Entertainment Cheetah Technology ZeptoLab Alexandru Marusac

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: April 11th to April 17th 13

April 29th 2016


THE BIG GAME BATTLEBORN

BATTLEBORN

Born for Battle Gearbox is readying its first new IP since 2009’s Borderlands. This time around, the studio is giving the competitive team shooter genre a shot – but will it be able to compete with Blizzard’s Overwatch and Epic’s Paragon? Alex Calvin speaks to creative director Randy Varnell to find out

Release Date: May 3rd Formats: PS4/XO/PC Publisher: 2K Games Developer: Gearbox Software

D

eveloper Gearbox has built up a reputation for producing some critically acclaimed online shooters. This is, after all, the studio that brought us the blockbuster Borderlands series, a franchise that has shifted 26 million units worldwide. Now the firm is on the verge of launching its brand new IP, Battleborn. This title is in many ways very much a Gearbox game, with a huge focus on online team play, colourful visuals and guns. But this isn’t just another online shooter. Gearbox has been heavily inspired by the massive online battle arena (MOBA), games such as League of Legends and DOTA 2 which

April 29th 2016

are wildly popular and draw massive viewerships. “There are a lot of inspirations, and likely as much innovation,” creative director Randy Varnell says. “We were inspired by both our Borderlands and MOBAs, and then added our own twists and refinements. We liked the role diversity and team play in competitive matches of MOBAs, but wanted to leverage the comfort and familiarity of movement and aiming of FPS games. “At the heart, though, our chief inspirations have always been character-led. We started Battleborn with some clear goals to do things with characters we had not done before. We had a big

We’re very excited to stand Battleborn next to Overwatch. Players are ready to see some new things in the FPS space. Randy Varnell, Gearbox

16

early focus on trying different varieties of melee-focused play, which is typically shied away from in other first person shooter games. We’re really happy with the results there, and have eight dedicated melee characters, and another three that feature melee as a key part of their gameplay.” ‘SHIT JUST GOT REAL’ The team shooter genre is – rather suddenly – a very competitive space in the market. Perhaps inspired by the success of games like Valve’s Team Fortress 2, a number of companies are trying to enter this sector. Blizzard has Overwatch, while Epic is releasing Paragon and Cliff Bleszinski is working

www.mcvuk.com


BATTLEBORN THE BIG GAME

LATE TO THE BATTLE BATTLEBORN was initially set for a February launch, but was pushed to May. “We mostly delayed the title for polish and stability,” creative director Randy Varnell explains. “That sounds like a simple answer, but it’s often the part of game development that can make or break how appealing it is. For example, all of our 25 characters had another pass through art, tweaking aspects of their visuals – slightly darker tints here, a bit more reflective material there – that really make the characters stand out when you see them in play. “With that, every aspect of the game got more attention and tuning. We fixed thousands of bugs, big and small, that would have been present in an earlier-launched game. We re-factored the Gear system to handle balance issues. We brought in more challenges and unlocks with the characters. Every system in the game got to go farther than it would have without the extra time. It was hugely impactful to our development.”

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17

April 29th 2016


THE BIG GAME BATTLEBORN

on Lawbreakers. Meanwhile, Smite studio Hi-Rez has recently announced Paladin and there’s a new Unreal Tournament game incoming. Overwatch is also launching an open beta on May 3rd – the very same day that Battleborn is set to hit shelves. It is a fact that made Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford declare on Twitter: ‘Shit just got real’. “We’re very excited to stand those two games next to each other, and we’ve both come to the same conclusion that players are ready to see some new things in the first person shooter space,” Varnell says. “For years now, the gaming market has been growing, and there’s been plenty of room for big titles within the same genre. Starcraft and Age of Empires. Call of Duty and Battlefield. Both

April 29th 2016

Battleborn and Overwatch have something new to offer players, but where the similarities exist, I think there’s room in the market for both. “While we may appear similar on the surface, though, the games are quite different underneath. Battleborn digs in deep with story episodes, growth, and customisation along with it’s competitive offering, while Overwatch reprises Team Fortress 2 with Blizzard’s great eye for polish.” Being an online shooter in the year 2016, developers also have to consider the possibilities that lie in the competitive eSports sector. “That would be an exciting development for Battleborn, and we’ve dedicated many resources to tracking and adjusting the game’s balance,” Varnell says.

Battleborn has reached more groups of people within Gearbox than I would have ever expected. Randy Varnell, Gearbox

18

“At launch, though, it’s critically important to us that Battleborn is fun for all players, not just the high-end competitive gamers. As we see that community develop, though, we are very excited to support eSports and work towards features required to treat that community well.” Varnell insists that Battleborn is aimed at gamers of all varieties and skill levels. “It is built for a wide market of core gamers,” he says. “There’s a lot to like in this game, and a lot of entertainment. The character experiences alone are widely different. Time and time again, we’ve seen players dislike one character, but then fall in love with another, and love the game through that character’s eyes. I hate to just drop the ‘something for everyone’ phrase, but that’s where

www.mcvuk.comJ


BATTLEBORN THE BIG GAME

Battleborn fuses elements of the first person shooter and MOBA genres

we’re landing with Battleborn. Single player (more about that in Singles Club). story episodes, competitive, challenges, loot, growth, characters and community. So there are many ways to enjoy this big new game.” BORN READY With so much competition in the market, what are Gearbox’s expectations around Battleborn? “Expectations are always hard to guess with a new IP,” Varnell says. “I love the game. I’ve played it for three years in all of its adolescence, and I’ve now played as much in open beta as I have in the last year and a half of development. I can’t stop. We built the type of game we wanted to play at Gearbox, and many of us are still going home

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SINGLES CLUB

at night, loading Battleborn, and playing the game. That’s a good sign, and isn’t something that’s guaranteed for all the games you make. You always hope you’ll like the end result but sometimes, as professionals, you’re not in the target audience for the game you’re making. Battleborn has reached more groups of people within Gearbox than I would have ever expected. “So I hope the world responds the same way we have internally. Battleborn is different, a little weird, and a lot of fun. I’ve seen hundreds of comments in the Open Beta from players who went into the game with few expectations and now are raving about the game, and can’t stop playing! I’m hoping that word of mouth continues to spread, and more people jump into the Battleborn universe with us.”

MANY online-focused shooters in recent years – Titanfall, Star Wars Battlefront and Rainbow Six: Siege – have ditched a single player campaign to focus on competitive elements. But Battleborn is not following this trend. “Not everyone wants to dig in exclusively to a competitive game,” creative director Randy Varnell explains.

19

“The games you mention are focused on that experience. But at some point, I don’t want to get beat up by highly-skilled random internet people, I want to play characters I like on my terms, at my speed. Narrative and setting help draw us into a more entertaining and immersive experience, as well. “Including story episodes that give players another way to play has been a real focus.”

April 29th 2016


As always, gamescom was fantastic and a big success for us! (Category Manager, TEKNOSA, Turkey) gamescom presents worldwide entertainment trends and is the gateway to the European market. (CEO, Koch Media, Germany) Perfect, wonderful, highly educational – I can hardly wait for gamescom 2016. (Purchasing Director, Gaming, Maxitoys, Belgium)

17-21.08.2016, Cologne Secure your tickets now! gamescom-cologne.com


European

High

Score

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THE STORY OF WORMS

Worms When student Andy Davidson entered a coding competition in his favourite magazine, he didn’t know he’d create one of the UK’s most iconic games. Christopher Dring finds out the story of Worms from Team17 MD Debbie Bestwick

I

n the early 1990s, certain specialist games magazines liked to encourage its readers to try their hands at making games. Amiga Format in particular contained programming information and ran game development contests for its readers (which at it peaks totalled over 170,000 a month). Andy Davidson, an A-level student in need of a distraction from his maths homework, spotted one of these competitions and decided to enter his game: Total Wormage. “The game was overlooked by the judges,” recalls Team17 chief Debbie Bestwick. “So Andy instead started showing the game to publishers. “He took it to our stand when visiting the 1994 European Computer Trade Show in London. We signed the game on the spot.” It’s just as well that Davidson did enter the Amiga Format competition, however, because Team17 immediately lost his contact information. “Andy handed his details over to one of the team who then lost them,” laughs Bestwick. “We had to get his details from Amiga Format.” And thus began the creation of what would become one of the most iconic, and ridiculous, British video games ever.

INCOMING! For the handful who have never played the game, Worms is a 2D turn-based strategy title where players control a small team of invertebrates and utilise bizarre weapons to destroy rival teams. “Andy set the tone with the first game,” says Bestwick. “Weapons like Banana Bomb and Exploding Sheep gave the game its mad-cap humour, and the cute high pitched voices worked well with the deadly explosions and military hardware. More weapons have been added since. Sometimes they’ve taken the mick out of current affairs [Mad Cows]; sometimes they’ve been inspired by pop culture [Holy Hand Grenade]. It all added up to make Worms unlike anything else, and gives it a distinctly British, irreverent sense of humour.” It wasn’t easy to make, however. Andy, who was at this point based in Team17’s Wakefield office, had built the game in Blitz Basic, which wasn’t ideal for all platforms.

April 29th 2016

Worms has become one of the most iconic British games brands since its 1995 debut

Worms was written off as it launched when 3D graphics were becoming standard. It showed that amazing gameplay would always win. Debbie Bestwick, Team17

22

“The game was rewritten in C++ for PC so it could be ported, and we had just six months to re-write and port for the launch platforms insane for a very small team,” continues Bestwick. “Codewise it was just three guys, and what they did to make that happen still stands strong today.” During development, Bestwick had no idea the game would go on to become the 70m-plus selling smash hit. However, they all knew they had something special. “When you’re developing games there’s a buzz about what the team is working on,” she explains. “Worms just pulled everyone in. People who were working on different projects stopped in to check on the game more and more. “You never know how successful something will be, but we were confident. Others not so much, we had to battle to get it on some formats in certain regions as they disliked the 2D approach. “PlayStation was just launching and I still have the initial forecasts for year one... it was 60,000 copies, but it went on to do many millions.” Bestwick concludes: “It’d been written off before it launched because 3D graphics were becoming standard. But it showed amazing gameplay would always win. Then we were most famous for Amiga games, now we were famous for Worms on a variety of platforms. It let us secure our future.”

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“2” and “PlayStation” are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Also, “Ø” is a trademark of the same company. All rights reserved. No Man’s Sky - TM/ © 2016 Hello Games Ltd. Developed by Hello Games Ltd. All rights reserved. No Man’s Sky - TM/ © 2016 Hello Games Ltd. Developed by Hello Games Ltd. All rights reserved.

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PROVISIONAL


KEVIN CAMPBELL, MILKY TEA INTERVIEW

INDIE INTERVIEW Mr Tea After making a name for itself in animation – including with an ad for Lloyds bank – Milky Tea decided to give games a go. Now the firm is releasing its second project, old person racing title Coffin Dodgers. Alex Calvin reports

M

ilky Tea isn’t a new company – the firm has been around for some ten years at this point – but it is a relative newcomer when it comes to games. The animation studio has previously focused on marketing, such as with the ‘For The Journey’ ad campaign for Lloyds TSB. But the firm has made inroads into games with mobile project Roller Rally: Snake Pass. “A lot of the team came from a games background,” producer Kevin Campbell explains. “Being based in Liverpool, there are so many development studios. Whatever staff we have hired tended to have a games background. We finished with the Lloyds stuff, so we thought we’d make our own games IP.”

RACING WITH DEATH Following its mobile debut, Milky Tea is trying its hand at console and PC with multiplayer racing game Coffin Dodgers, a game where old people race on mobility scooters. “Our MD John Holmes was on a boat tour in Lao with loads of old people and thought it was going to be a disaster,” Campbell says. “But he really enjoyed it and thought: why can’t old people be the rockstars of games? So we asked ourselves what we all have in common. Being chased by time, being chased by the Grim Reaper and that became a racing game where the players are being chased by Death. Then it became like Bill and Ted where the the Grim Reaper challenges them to something. He has challenged these seven old people to a mobility scooter race to the death.” The title also has a local multiplayer focus, a feature that has all but disappeared in triple-A releases, but is making a return thanks to the indie scene. “We’ve always been keen on the idea because we have this hand-to-hand battle element to it, which is naturally suited to sitting on a sofa,” Campbell says. “That was always our focus. I’m not sure why [local multiplayer] died out but we were always keen to push that to the forefront of our game.”

www.mcvuk.com

Coffin Dodgers launched in Early Access in March 2015, before releasing fully on PC in July

Whatever staff we hired tended to have a background in games development. So we thought we’d have a go at making our own games IP. Kevin Campbell, Milky Tea

25

Coffin Dodgers made its debut last year on PC, launching via Steam’s Greenlight programme before moving to Early Access after just ten days in March. It launched fully in July. “It was a nice process to go through, and it was great to receive feedback on Steam,” Campbell says. “We made some changes, such as the pick ups we were using. We also initially didn’t have an open world mode. We built the game as a 3D model village, rather than individual tracks. We built a whole town, so we had that already there but we didn’t let people explore. So we introduced a Crazy Taxi type mode in there, which came from the community’s suggestions.” He continues: ‘We were very open about how long we wanted to stay in Early Access, we wanted to be in there for six months to get feedback. We knew when we were going to deliver the game, so it was never going to be one of those things where we were getting money to finish it. That wasn’t our approach. Early Access games do get tarnished with that reputation. “It’s quite easy to differentiate because our game was 80 per cent done when we put it on there, so even if players looked at it and thought it wasn’t quite finished, they were still getting value for money.”

April 29th 2016


XXX XXX MCV AWARDS INTERVIEW GAME

GAME on UK retailer giant GAME took home two MCV Awards last March, winning best Specialist Retailer and best Buying Team. Marie Dealessandri speaks to UK retail MD Charlotte Knight about GAME’s online initiatives and projects for the year to come

Congratulations on winning two prizes at this year’s MCV Awards. Thank you. We’re thrilled to have won these two awards. They’re a real testament to the hard work of everyone involved, from our staff on the ground across our 320 stores nationwide, to our hard-working team at head office. These awards are for everyone at GAME who made 2015 such an amazing year. What do you think made GAME stand out compared to other specialist retailers? GAME is more than just a retailer, we offer the whole gaming experience and we’re constantly innovating and evolving to ensure that’s the very best it can be. From new releases, exclusives and great value pre-owned products, to expert advice from the staff at our 320 stores, or in-store events such as lock-ins, signings, midnight launches or eSports competitions - there really is something for everyone at GAME. We are committed to offering the gaming community the best possible experience and this is what makes us stand out. How would you assess last year? 2015 was an exciting time for GAME. As well as supporting some great releases and exclusive products, we also introduced new partnerships, hosted some amazing events and launched a selection of new services as well. Bringing GAME and Multiplay together has enabled us to expand our community-events and bring eSports to the masses. We launched GAME Marketplace in the UK, a major online initiative

April 29th 2016

GAME also walked away with three aways from the MCV Awards 2015

which has allowed us to add over 100 vendor partners and over 100,000 new products to our range. In 2016, we plan to trial in-store digital Marketplace kiosks to showcase this range and further link our online and in-store proposition. 2015 also saw several new stores, including in the Metro Centre and the Trafford Centre. And we rolled out multiple digital screens across all of our stores to further improve the retail experience. GAME’s earnings were slightly down last year - what is your forecast for the year to come? The prospects for the business are positive. The number of Xbox One and PS4 owners continues to grow rapidly, with over 5m people in the UK and almost 7m including Spain now enjoying the latest generation of consoles. There are some great new games coming up in the next few months and we expect more announcements throughout the year. We’re also excited about the upcoming launch

Bringing GAME and Multiplay together has enabled us to expand our community events and bring eSports to the masses. Charlotte Knight, GAME

00 26

of VR, which is set to hit our stores and site later this year. We are planning some expansion - we are continuing to develop our eSports, competitive gaming and gaming events activities, and we’re excited to be bringing GAMEfest back this August alongside Insomnia 58. We are also focused on further developing our PC proposition following the successful trial of our partnership with Overclockers. And we are expanding our online proposition, including our click and collect service and our marketplace offer, which now lists over 170,000 products. Many retailers currently find it challenging to compete with digital-only shops – what’s your take on the situation? Our digital offering is growing all the time to ensure we’re reaching the places and ways in which gamers play. Over 100,000 new products have been added to our Marketplace range, while 3m customers registered with the GAME App and our web traffic has increased by 20 per cent. Customers like the convenience of buying online but physical space is still essential to our business model. We continue to drive strong engagement through our stores by creating a place which brings our gaming community together. Our objective is to provide customers with a compelling and differentiated offer; access to a wide range and exclusive products coupled with helpful and knowledgeable staff who deliver expert service and actively engage with our communities.

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UK ACCESSORY MARKET

“2016’s accessories market will be shaped by virtual reality” Virtual reality is on everyone’s mind, and accessories firms are putting a lot of their eggs into this promising basket. Marie Dealessandri talks to the UK’s top companies about this new technology that could completely transform the industry

W

e may have seen some big titles this year already, including The Division and Dark Souls III. There may be some huge titles just around the corner, such as Uncharted 4, Doom, Battleborn and Overwatch. VR headsets may be just reaching consumers. But none of this appears to have boosted accessory sales. “If we look at the traditional console accessories market (no toys-to-life or digital content), the market is down 3.3 per cent year-to-date in units,” says Chris Poole, senior account manager at research company GfK. “But it is up 2.6 per cent yearto-date in revenue,” he quickly adds. “The main product areas are still controllers, headsets and docks/chargers. The latter is down 0.9 per cent in units and 7.2 per cent in revenue, whereas controllers are down 8.3 per cent in units and up 1.8 per cent in revenue, and headsets are up 11.9 per cent in units and 3.1 per cent in revenue.

“The feeling is that gamers have been less inclined to buy extra controllers as they are playing online more, where headsets are needed for new titles like The Division.” 2016 may be a flat year so far for most accessories, but Poole explains that 2015 was a particularly good year for the sector: “The traditional console accessories market in 2015 was up 7.1 per cent in units and 18 per cent in revenue compared to 2014, boosted by the new consoles.” Gaming accessories represented £495m in revenues in the UK in 2015, against £431m in 2014.

Virtual reality means a whole new world of accessories for us and we can’t wait. Jonathan Rose, Lime Distribution

EYES ON VR There’s one massive trend currently impacting the industry that could transform 2016 into a great success for the accessories market – or on the contrary drag it down. As Poole says it, the biggest tendency in the market at the moment is “a decline in traditional console controllers with online-

only and new forms of interaction - virtual reality - on the horizon.” VR is the trend everyone is looking forward to in the accessories industry. “Virtual reality on PS4 is going to launch with a huge bang and I, for one, am hoping that bang is sustained,” says Jonathan Rose, business development manager at Lime Distribution, which specialises in pro-gaming accessories. “I’m pretty sure it will be a more immersive experience and a natural progression into the future of gaming. I know that’s what I thought about when I was a child, that it would be cool to play inside a video game and here we are taking a step in that direction. It’s a whole new world of accessories for us and we can’t wait.” And Jon Watts, brand manager at Accessories 4 Technology (A4T), couldn’t agree more: “There can be absolutely no argument – 2016’s accessory market will be shaped by virtual reality.

(From left to right) GfK’s Chris Poole, Performance Designed Products’ (PDP) Dave Nelson, Accessories 4 Technology’s (A4T) Jon Watts, Lime Distribution’s Jonathan Rose

April 29th 2016

30


UK ACCESSORY MARKET

“Mobile VR headsets like our own make the huge wealth of content available on the Play and App stores accessible to anyone with a smartphone. The imminent launch of PlayStation VR will also bring with it a whole host of new officially licensed accessories. I think PC accessory sales will continue to grow exponentially – HTC Vive will run exclusively on Windows, OS and Linux, while Oculus Rift only runs fully on Windows. As gamers have to split their time between various consoles and PC, we should expect a spike in multiformat accessory sales as well.” For now, A4T is focusing on Stealth, its VR headsets brand, and its ambition is to bring virtual reality to the mass market with a product starting as low as £30. The Stealth website goes live at the beginning of May and will be quickly followed by a Stealth VR app. “Our mission is to give consumers free, 24/7 access to the latest VR news and content from all industries - beyond just mobile VR and gaming,” Watts explains. “The VR boom is a global phenomenon and Stealth VR has already proved a massive hit in Japan, where it launched in March.”

GfK’s Poole details: “In 2014, revenue from PS4 accessories across our panel of retailers was £36.9m, while Xbox One was £39.8m. In 2015 the gap between the two has widened with PS4 accessories accounting for £56.1m and Xbox One for £72.2m.” The numbers sound promising, but there’s been a shift in the market this year, with big

The traditional console accessories market is down 3.3 per cent in units and up 2.6 per cent in revenue. Chris Poole, GfK

SUMMER SUCCESS But, of course, virtual reality accessories will not be the only peripherals coming to the market in the coming months, as traditional products are still performing strongly. “PlayStation 4 and Xbox One continue to drive accessory sales as last-generation sales drop off,” says Watts.

www.mcvuk.com

31

players such as Mad Catz struggling, paving the way for other companies. “With some of competitors having a tough time, PDP expect another record year of double digit growth,” confirms Dave Nelson, UK sales manager at PDP. “PDP’s market innovation into next gen technology makes us ideally positioned to maximise the current gen.” Even First Party products are having a tough year. “Official Microsoft and Sony accessories have less revenue share of the market so far this year (45.5 per cent) compared to year-todate 2015 (51.4 per cent),” says Poole. “Third Parties have picked up with Turtle Beach going from 14.8 per cent to 16.8 per cent while Venom and X-Rocker have both also increased share.” Lime boss Rose also expects big things from another rising brand: Astro. “We expect Astro Gaming to really continue to capture the market, it never ceases to improve on its products even when you think there is nothing to improve upon.” Rose is also optimistic regarding the accessories market as a whole. “Accessories, as always, is an awesome sector to be in. Summer slump? Not here,” he enthuses. “We have some big announcements coming this year for new products, new licensing and new exclusives. It’s been an exciting and successful year so far and that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.”

April 29th 2016


MARKETPLACE

SHELF LIFE Shabaka Anderson, managing director at online retailer Uptown Games, tells MCV about the challenge of maintaining a presence online and how he wishes to open a store on the High Street How has your business been lately? It’s been operational for two years now and, slowly but surely, we’re getting more of a market presence online. People are starting to become more aware of us, which is good. It seems to be moving in the right direction. There are always new releases coming out so that always helps the sales. What games have been selling particularly well recently?

PRE-ORDER CHARTS

The Division has been a good title. Quite a few Nintendo releases have been doing good as well. It’s mostly 3DS titles that are selling, such as Bravely Second. But Nintendo Selects titles have also been decent sellers, especially the Mario one.

mix and match, but I’d probably still say Nintendo sells more. And what platform do you think will perform the best over the course of the year? It would probably be Sony. If they promote VR correctly then I think the sky is the limit and Sony will come through pretty well.

On which platform do you usually sell the most? As of today, I would say we sell more Nintendo games, but then sometimes we just have an influx of Sony games that come out. It’s a

Do you think VR will sell well? I think it’s all depending on marketing. You have to market it

PRICE CHECK: ABERDEEN

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3. Gears of War 4 Microsoft ......................................................................XO 4. Kirby Planet Robobot + Amiibo bundle Nintendo................................................................... 3DS

Sony, PS4

Nintendo, Wii U

Capcom, XO

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UPLOADING The latest digital releases coming to market

April 29th 2016

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UMBRELLA CORPS

ORI AND THE BLIND FOREST: DEFINITIVE EDITION

SHADOW COMPLEX REMASTERED

The shooter set in the Resident Evil world will be available on PS4 and PC

After launching on Xbox One, this edition just hit Windows 10 and Steam

This side-scroller tribute to Super Metroid will be released on PS4

OUT: JUNE 21ST

OUT: NOW

32

OUT: MAY 3RD

www.mcvuk.com


MARKETPLACE

Uptown Games 54 Plympton Road, Kilburn, NW6 7EQ, London

Phone: 020 7148 1797 Website: www.uptowngames.co.uk Email: contactus@uptowngames.co.uk

correctly because if you don’t it’s going to be hard for consumers to get committed to a new kind of platform, especially if they bought a new machine not too long ago. But I would like to see it doing well, because that’s something I’m keen on. But you’ve got to find a way so that consumers don’t see it as a gimmick. We don’t want to end up in a situation in which consumers put money into it and a year down the line it’s no longer being pushed.

What challenges are you facing at the moment? It’s quite a competitive market. So putting our name out there and having a presence is the challenge. What are your prospects? Hopefully being in a position to open a store on the High Street at some point. I know the High Street is not strong now, and it’s probably going to get worse, but I’d like to become a High Street store because I have good customer feedback.

INCOMING TITLE

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

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33

April 29th 2016


MAY BIG GAMES

MAY’S BIG GAMES Next month is so full of big games, it looks more like an October than May. Marie Dealessandri has looked for the merchandise fans can purchase alongside these big releases

THIS May will be one crowded month for video games, with five triple-A titles releasing in just four weeks. Battleborn, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Doom, Homefront: The Revolution, Overwatch and Fire Emblem: Fates are all coming to retail during the month. And, of course, lots of other promising titles are also hitting shelves in May, adding to the other big games released at the end of April – such as Sony’s Ratchet &

It’s the bugbear of our industry that there’s no major releases for weeks then a few in succession. Robert Lindsay, Games Centre

Clank, Bandai Namco’s Dark Souls III, plus Nintendo’s Star Fox Zero and Yo-kai Watch. “It’s the bugbear of our industry that there’s no major releases for weeks then a few in succession. A little coordinated planning would benefit the whole industry,” Games Centre boss Robert Lindsay told MCV a few weeks ago. Hopefully, retailers can expect to make a few extra quids with all the products launching along these major titles. Most of them will also

HOMEFRONT: THE REVOLUTION GOLIATH EDITION To celebrate the release of Homefront’s sequel, Deep Silver is releasing a collector’s edition full of treats. It contains a radio-controlled replica of a ‘Goliath’ tank, a 32-page art book, the Revolutionary Spirit Pack (a bundle of skins and weapons for the game’s character) and the title’s expansion. Plus, of course, the game itself, presented in a steelbook case. Homefront: The Revolution will launch on May 20th. SRP: $159.99 (£110) Manufacturer: Deep Silver Distributor: Koch Media Contact: 01256 385 200

UNCHARTED 4 NATHAN DRAKE ACTION FIGURE

OVERWATCH HAT

THRUSTMASTER Y-300CPX DOOM EDITION

Now is the perfect time to buy a Nathan Drake figure, as Uncharted 4 will be the character’s final appearance.

Players who want to express their preference for Overwatch over Battleborn can do it with this cap.

Thrustmaster has teamed up with Bethesda and Id Software to bring this brand-new Doom inspired headset.

SRP: £25 Manufacturer: PlayStation Gear Distributor: PlayStation Gear Contact: support@gearplaystation.zendesk.

SRP: $25 Manufacturer: Blizzard Gear Distributor: Blizzard Entertainment Contact: 020 3060 1081

SRP: £49.99 Manufacturer: Thrustmaster Distributor: Very Contact: queries@very.co.uk

April 29th 2016

34

www.mcvuk.com


MAY BIG GAMES Sponsored by

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gaming merchandise uk

have a collector’s edition and some publishers even signed partnerships with accessories brands to develop headsets and console skins. And there are, of course, the inevitable T-shirts, hats and other apparels. Amongst this May’s contenders, Uncharted 4 seems to be the most awaited title – at least that’s the one that has been mentioned the most by the indie retailers we interview every week. A Thief’s End will be the final chapter of one of PlayStation’s most popular franchises – hence

the hype surrounding the title. But the return of Doom is also quite a big deal. Bethesda’s ambition with this title is to make it everyone’s new favourite FPS. 2K‘s Battleborn and Blizzard’s Overwatch will also be watched closely as both are MOBAs and will be fighting to attract the same type of gamers. Meanwhile, Homefront: The Revolution has been built by real FPS veterans. So may the best game win.

FIRE EMBLEM AMIIBO CHARACTERS Nintendo’s upcoming Fire Emblem Fates will come in two versions, giving players the choice between two families to fight for - Hoshido in Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, or Nohr in Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest. Both versions will be compatible with Amiibo characters: fans can pick Marth, Ike, Lucina or Robin. Fire Emblem Fates comes to retail on May 20th.

SRP: £10.99 Manufacturer: Nintendo Distributor: Open Contact: 01753 483 700

OVERWATCH POSTER

BATTLEBORN - RED RATH T-SHIRT

DOOM - PAIN ELEMENTAL PLUSH

Battleborn’s fans can now buy T-shirts featuring their favourite characters. Here’s Rath, but Thorn and Montana are also available.

This Pain Elemental plush will surely bring some good memories back to Doom II enthusiasts.

The poster features most of the heroes from the upcoming Overwatch, published and developed by Blizzard.

SRP: £16 Manufacturer: 2K Store Distributor: Digital River Contact: enquiriesemea@digitalriver.com

SRP: $12 (£8) Manufacturer: Bethesda Distributor: ThinkGeek Contact: 1-888-433-5788

SRP: $12.50 (£8.70) Manufacturer: Blizzard Gear Distributor: Blizzard Entertainment Contact: +44 20 3060 1081

www.mcvuk.com

35

April 29th 2016


MARKETING, PR & CREATIVE AGENCIES

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TRADE BODY UKIE

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FUNBOX MEDIA LTD

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THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT AGENCIES AND SERVICE COMPANIES

COMPANY PROFILE / CREATIVE DISTRIBUTION KEY CONTACTS: Email

Telephone

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ESTABLISHED in 1999, Creative Distribution Ltd is one of the UK’s largest independent distributors of video games, toys and entertainment products. Established over 15 years ago, Creative has the buying power and knowledge to offer some of the best deals around. Only ever offering the stock in the warehouse, gives the ability to process orders quickly and efficiently. Creative holds a huge range of product in its South London Warehouse, and has over 3000 different products in stock at any one time. Open an account today, and our team of over twenty sales professionals will ensure you receive a high level of service, with regular updates on stock availability, new arrivals, special promotions and new releases. Speak to one of our account managers today. The languages spoken by our sales team include: Armenian, Cantonese, Danish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish.

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GAMES

4TH 2015

ISSUE 860 FRIDAY DECEMBER 11TH

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

THE A TEAM

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INDIE THICK OF IT

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P18

UK RETAIL SPEAKS OUT 55%

70%

believe PS4 will rule next year (above top),

Twist think virtual reality is doomedUKIE’s SuperData’s van Dreunen

(above middle) and Reflection’s Leksell (above)

ack are bdig Charts ital e y’r the time, And this

s partnerships for mobile and

19%

console data QMCV digital demand more tit

re-launches charts section

41%

picked Uncharted 4 as their most anticipated game of 2016


DIRECTORY

WHO?

INSIDER’S GUIDE DEAD GOOD MEDIA

Specialism: PR consultancy Location: 69 Knowl Piece, Wilbury Way, Hitchin, SG4 0TY

Contact: W: www.deadgoodmedia.com P: 07780 600 728 E: hello@deadgoodmedia.com

Carly Moxey, media consultant at Dead Good Media, talks about the PR agency’s projects for the year to come Tell us about your company. We are a boutique PR agency based outside of London. We work primarily within the video games industry and we are all gamers, which definitely adds to our passion for the work we produce, knowledge of the industry and giving our clients a genuine service. What is your biggest success so far? Our most recent ones would be the international PR campaigns for Dying Light: The Following –

Enhanced Edition and Hitman GO: Definitive Edition.

What are the biggest challenges you face? What with the media landscape constantly evolving, it’s important for us all to stay ahead of the curve. We are particularly cognisant of the evolving relationship between all types of media platforms, and apply this to the way in which we deal with the relationship between our clients and the media. For us it’s about promoting and maintaining a mutual respect for each other in order to achieve the best results.

What projects do you currently have in the works? We are well into our fourth year now, so as well as more for Techland and Square Enix Montréal, we now rep the world’s biggest trading card game Magic: The Gathering, retro football game Dino Dini’s Kick Off Revival, Nordic Games, and EuroVideo, who were at EGX Rezzed. So all in all, exciting times ahead.

DISC REPAIR

TOTAL DISC REPAIR

Tel: +44 (0) 1202 489500

April 29th 2016

Web: www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk

38

www.mcvuk.com


DIRECTORY

ENQUIRIES CONOR TALLON Tel: 02073 546000 ctallon@nbmedia.com

FINK

CREATIVE

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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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Tel: +44 (0) 207 462 6200

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Web: www.sonydadc.com

April 29th 2016


DIRECTORY

L3I

GAMING ACCESSORIES

Tel: 01923 881000

Web: www.logic3.com

LIME DISTRIBUTION

GAMING ACCESSORIES

Tel: 01622 845 161

Web: www.limedistribution.co.uk

ADVERTISE WITH US

WANT TO ADVERTISE IN OUR DIRECTORY?

CALL CONOR TALLON ON 020 7354 6000 OR EMAIL HIM AT CTALLON@NBMEDIA.COM

April 29th 2016

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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION

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

BELGIUM

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

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

IRAN

UAE 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

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

SWEDEN

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

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

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

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

WWW.MCVPACIFIC.COM

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

TO ADVERTISE IN THIS SECTION PLEASE CONTACT CTALLON@NBMEDIA.COM www.mcvuk.com

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April 29th 2016


FACTFILE CANADA

INTERNATIONAL FACTFILE: CANADA Population: 35,525,000 Capital City: Ottawa Currency: Canadian Dollar GDP (Per Capita): $52,270.5 KEY RETAILERS Best Buy, EB Games/GameStop, Microplay, PlayNTrade, Walmart, ToysRUs, Indigo, Video Games Plus, Game Access, TOP DISTRIBUTORS Entertainment One, Just4Games, Solutions 2 Go, ASD Solutions, Importel, Distribusoft, GameQuestDirect, Sonic Games Inc, DVD Distribution, Minimax Group, Ingram Micro

TOP DEVELOPERS 2K Play, Bandai Namco Vancouver, Behaviour Interactive, Beenox, BioWare, Capcom Vancouver, Cyanide Studio, Eidos Montreal, EA, Gameloft, HB Studios, Hothead Games, Jet Black Games, Next Level Games, Piranha Games, Relic Entertainment, Rockstar Toronto, Ubisoft Canada, United Front Games, Warner Bros Canada, Zynga Toronto PUBLISHERS IN THE REGION 2K Games, Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Disney, EA, Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, Tecmo Koei, THQ, Ubisoft, Strategy First, Capcom, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros

CANADA is known for its buoyant games market – the 8th biggest worldwide – which is responsible for some of the most popular games franchises worldwide such as EA’s FIFA and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed. The latest report from research firm Dawson Strategic, published last March, points out that there were 472 companies in the country either developing, publishing or distributing video games in 2014. This number is an increase of 38 per cent in just two years, as there were 328 active businesses in 2012. “The sector is mainly concentrated in the provinces of Quebec (29.4 per cent), British Columbia (27.1), and Ontario (22.9),” the report says.

April 29th 2016

CEO of the Entertainment Software Association of Canada Jayson Hilchie states in this study that “in 2015, the industry contributed more than $3bn (£1.6bn) to the Canadian economy and provided 20,400 full-time equivalent jobs across the country, representing an increase of 31 per cent and 24 per cent respectively since 2013.” Dawson Strategic’s report also asserts that 19m Canadians identify themselves as gamers – over half of the total population. But according to Newzoo, only 48 per cent of the Canadian players spend money on games. However, paying gamers spend an annual average of $205.46 (£142.77), which is higher than in the US (£138) or the UK (£110).

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CANADA FACTFILE

MEANWHILE IN... SPAIN Mobile company Gameloft is shutting down its Spanish studio, located in Valencia, as part of its ‘cost reduction program’ GAMELOFT is closing its studio in Valencia, a ‘source close to the matter’ reported to Gamasutra. As a result of this decision, up to 18 employees are being laid off, the same source says. It is the seventh Gameloft’s studio to close - the latest being in the US (Seattle, New York) and New Zealand (Auckland). These closures are the result of Gameloft’s ‘cost reduction program’, which already cost 850 jobs but allowed the French mobile company to increase its profits last year.

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“In the past twelve months, Gameloft has been actively managing its production organisation and refocusing on its most efficient and

experienced creation centres in order to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions and to increase revenues more profitably,” Gameloft told Gamasutra.

April 29th 2016


STAND UP FOR

IT’S

GamesAid

HS

EL OF LAUG R R A B A E B O T G IN O G ’S BACK AND IT

All proceeds (excluding booking fees) go directly to the charities nominated and voted for by Gamesaid members.

A riotous evening of fun, frolics and frivolity and if your sides haven’t split by the end of the evening, they must have been surgically re-enforced.

THE LINE UP SO FAR Allyson Smith

Damian Clark

Marlon Davis

Mike Gaunn

Steve Gribben

Terry Alderton

THE MC IMRAN YUSUF

Monday May 9th • 8pm (doors from 6:30pm) The Comedy Store, London

Tickets £15.00 (PLUS £2.50 BOOKING FEE FOR ONLINE AND TELEPHONE BOOKINGS)

TICKETS ON SALE NOW AT WWW.THECOMEDYSTORE.CO.UK

For more information on GamesAid, the charities it supports and to become a member please visit www.gamesaid.org


OFF THE RECORD

OFF THE RECORD This week, we discover a new approach to football thanks to Dan Marshall’s trolling and are comforted to see that even world leaders look ridiculous in VR headsets DO A GOAL IF you’re not a follower of developer Dan Marshall on Twitter then you’ve been missing some top quality grade-A trolling recently. Dan has decided to make a football game, despite the fact – or perhaps because of the fact – that he doesn’t like or know a thing about football. The hope is that should a good game emerge at the end, he will help prove the folly of men being paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to do a goal. The game itself, which is brilliantly called Behold The Kickmen, actually looks pretty decent. But it’s Dan’s trolling of the internet that has really won us over. Rather than try and disprove those who have accused him of knowing nothing of the sport, Dan has embraced it. Our favourite lines include “Come on the lads, do a goal! Do a big goal” and “I haven’t had time to make the crowd shout anything racist yet”.

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April 29th 2016


OFF THE RECORD

OUR GLORIOUS LEADERS RIGHT, so what if, like, we’re all just, like, fleshy blobs strapped into chairs – no, deposited into glass chambers like trifle in a bowl, with, like, tubes going into our brains – yeah, and, like, the world as we know it isn’t really real and, like, actually, everything is just this big computer simulation and what we now know as VR is just a fake VR taking place inside the, like, actual real VR that is the world and, like, yeah, nothing is really real and, like, that would be mental. But at least it would explain Donald Trump. At some stage in writing this up that somehow nicely tied into the notion of US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel wearing VR headsets. On reflection the whole thing hasn’t worked at all, so instead we’ll just comment on how it’s nice to see that even the most powerful people in the world look ridiculous waving their hands around in front of them when wearing a VR headset.

WOULD YOU RATHER FIGHT ONE HORSE-SIZED DUCK OR 100 DUCK-SIZED HORSES? Jeremy Zoss Marketing Manager, Octopus Tree “I think I would probably fight the 100 duck-sized horses, and the reason is I know that ducks are surprisingly mean animals. I know they don’t have teeth, but I imagine that bill could still do some damage if the duck was the size of a horse. Whereas, I feel like I could at least get in some decent sweep-kicks to deal with the crowd. Ultimately, the odds would still be against me, but I feel like I’d have a better chance against the crowd of duck-sized horses.”

RUN FOR THE HILLS! WE like running charity stories in Off The Record, although it does mean we can’t be too sarcastic or crude. Maybe that explains why we went so overboard in the Obama-Merkel VR piece? So, to play it completely straight, over 150 runners braved the elements to complete a gruelling 5k Monster Race obstacle course earlier this month for Special Effect raising a really very impressive £15k+ for the charity. Plenty of games folk were represented, too. Very, very good work to all involved. April 29th 2016

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OFF THE RECORD

Green Man Gaming Asks...

After 11 years, Microsoft has discontinued the Xbox 360. What’s your fondest memory of the console? #GMGasks

Each week Green Man Gaming asks the Twitter community what they think about the biggest gaming topics trending today. Tag your reply with #GMGasks to have your say!

Playing 0DVV(Î?HFW, which has become my favourite game of all time :)

*HWWLQJP\Č´UVW 100% achievement completion on Just &DXVH

@katieee120

@norninja

Playing Skate for the Č´UVWWLPHWKRVHJDPHV are the only reason I still have my 360 hooked up.

When I was working at an EB Games and the demo unit came in months before release. It was a magical moment.

@GaredMc

@Jerkface_Killah

Sending it back twice because of that beautiful red ring. I’m re-living that this week with my Xbox One.

Turning it on and seeing the Blades dashboard and playing &R' for WKHČ´UVWWLPH

@KevSlider

@pawpaw314

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Editor cdring@nbmedia.com

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Stuart Moody

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Head of Operations smoody@nbmedia.com

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Account Manager cnangle@nbmedia.com

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Profile for Future PLC

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