D 3: Drake’s Since the events of UNCHARTE left the world of Deception, Nathan Drake has tled down with Elena fortune hunting behind and set less exciting life. to lead a less dangerous, and
e’s presumed dead e to come knocking when Drak It doesn’t take long for adventur nture – and a plea rmation on an irresistible adve brother, Sam, reappears with info for help to save his life. l adventure in a embarks on his most persona With the stakes so high, Drake -lost pirate uit of Captain Henry Avery’s long globe-trotting journey in purs treasure hoard.
on a journey through jungle on the search for s, snowy highlands and more, islands, open plains, urban citie nture will test adve this and e has its price Avery’s fortune. Every treasur to sacriﬁce to ng willi he’s t lve, and ultimately wha Drake’s physical limits, his reso save the ones he loves. eplay ED history, drive vehicles during gam For the ﬁrst time in UNCHART e spectacular and interactive. to make big moments even mor
takes players UNCHARTED 4: A Thief’s End
lve the franchise’s excellent
UNCHARTED 4 continues to evo multiplayer experience.
DO LET’S PLAYS PAY? ISSUE 877 FRIDAY MAY 6TH 2016
INDIE DEVS ON THE PROS AND CONS OF YOUTUBERS P16
‘Nintendo just switched oﬀ Wii U’s life support’ But UK retailers back Nintendo’s decision to not show its new NX console at E3 next month by Christopher Dring THE Wii U is ﬁnished, say leading games retailers. Last week, Nintendo announced that its next Zelda game – which was originally scheduled for this year – will now release in 2017, and will also be coming to the ﬁrm’s upcoming NX console. The platform holder also said Zelda will be the only game on show at E3 in June. The news saw one senior games retail exec tell MCV: “Nintendo just switched oﬀ Wii U’s life support.” Nintendo’s current ﬁrst-party slate for Wii U includes just Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Paper Mario: Color Splash, Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE, Project Giant Robot and The Legend of Zelda. The ﬁrm only expects to sell 800,000 Wii U consoles worldwide during its next ﬁscal year. “While the Wii U has some fantastic games, it never enjoyed the third-party support necessary to draw in the masses,” said Games Centre MD Robert Lindsay. “The console itself didn’t appeal to the mainstream fans the Wii captured, or the hardcode fanbase of Sony and Microsoft’s machines.” However, retailers and analysts have backed Nintendo’s decision not to unveil NX at E3. They’ve also said the ﬁrm’s decision to push NX into March 2017 to ensure a strong release line-up is ‘the right call’.
Games Centre’s Lindsay (top) and IHS’ Bailey (above) think Nintendo is right to hold NX until it’s ready
“Nintendo has to get it right this time,” added Lindsay, “and if that means taking its time to launch the NX then so be it.” Another games boss at a major retailer continued: “It’s great to get some clariﬁcation on NX launch window and the hype starts now. “There is intrigue about what NX might be, and lots of fans will be getting increasingly excited.” Steve Bailey, senior games analyst at IHS, believes Nintendo may have learned a valuable lesson from Wii U’s struggles: “There’s no point in attempting to bring out
It may seem a mistake for NX to miss Q4. But it would be an even bigger mistake to launch it without proper support. Steve Bailey, IHS
innovative hardware, if software and messaging can’t provide a convincing account of its value. With Nintendo’s core business in decline, it may seem like a mistake to miss the Q4 sales period. But it would be an even bigger mistake to launch NX without proper support. “In terms of Nintendo not debuting NX at a highly-visible event as E3, it’s worth noting Nintendo has been cultivating its own means of connecting with fans. So it has scope for communicating the NX in the lead-up to launch, outside of major traditional industry showings.”
PLUS THE CHINESE ROOM ON INDIE DEVELOPMENT ROVIO’S ANGRY BIRDS REVIVAL
Rovio backs augmented reality to boost High Street retail New Angry Birds game Action asks customers to scan QR codes in physical stores to unlock extra content by Alex Calvin ANGRY BIRDS creator Rovio says that High Street stores should use augmented reality (AR) to make shopping more fun. The ﬁrm believes tech such as smartphones can make going to the shops more enjoyable, and encourage more customers to visit. The Finnish company recently released Angry Birds Action, a mobile title that lets consumers unlock extra mini games by scanning special Bird QR Codes (pictured) on products for the likes of LEGO, McDonalds and H&M. “Retailers, by and large, recognise that consumers are increasingly in the digital space browsing, exploring and buying products,” chief commercial oﬃcer Alex Lambeek said.
“Brick and mortar in general is having a very diﬃcult time. Doesn’t it just make a lot of sense to make shopping more fun through gamiﬁcation? There’s a real beneﬁt to consumers if they can experience things by going to stores. One thing is for sure – everyone has their phone with them and a lot of people are playing games and apps as well.
Why not use game apps to make shopping more fun? Alex Lambeek, Rovio
“Why not use your game apps to see what you can buy at the point of sale and have a little bit of fun on the way? You’ll probably get the kids along to stores if they know there’s a treasure hunt or stuﬀ happening in stores. Just make shopping more fun.” Chief marketing oﬃcer Ville Heijari added: “It’d be interesting to see a coupon oﬀer, treasure hunt, discounts and really special campaigns that run. This is an area where tech gives us the tools, but really ﬁnding a fun, creative implementation, that’s the hard part. But why go to brick and mortar if you can get it online? That’s always the question. There can be many things here to explored, but it’s probably the fun gamiﬁcation creative angle where the drive really comes from.”
Imagine cuts Play print magazine after 21 years by Alex Calvin MAGAZINE publisher Imagine has axed the print version of PlayStation-focused brand Play. Issue 269 will be the last edition of the publication to come to newsagents. The ﬁrm says it will continue to release a digital version of Play on the App Store and Google Play digital storefronts. Play started life in 1995 alongside Sony’s ﬁrst PlayStation. “The games industry owes an immense debt to magazines such as Play,” Imagine’s publishing director Aaron Asadi said. “It seems alien now but years ago these magazines were all fans had to learn about the games and consoles they loved the most. “These magazines were made by people who cared deeply about this new form of
May 6th 2016
entertainment at a time when it wasn’t always popular to. It’s really no exaggeration to say Play and others like it helped make the games industry what it is today. “But the world has changed, there’s less space for games magazines, publishers don’t believe in the format as much, and fans have more than one way to engage with games. “Play has withstood so much of this change when others around it have faltered and faded away. But it’s not invincible so after two decades and 269 issues we decided to make Play a digitalonly title.” He continued: “Going digital will mean we have an opportunity to take better advantage of the medium. Play will do what it’s always done. It’s still Play, just paperless.”
Imagine’s Play is going digital-only after 269 issues 04
PlayStation: Uncharted’s fanbase has never been bigger by Alex Calvin SONY is investing more marketing money in Uncharted 4 than it has with any previous game. Marketing manager Joe Palmer says that there has been an inﬂux of PS4 owners that never owned a PS3 – which was the console the previous three Uncharted games were released on. Therefore the potential audience for Uncharted 4 is a lot higher. Palmer also expects Uncharted 4, which arrives on Tuesday, May 10th, to encourage reluctant PS3 gamers to make the leap to the new machine. “This is PlayStation’s largest ever software investment and we have a plan to support it for the whole year,” Palmer said.
He added: “The series is one of PlayStation’s biggest sellers. We have a huge existing fanbase who have already moved over to PS4, but lots of PS3 owners will also see this as the time to upgrade their console of choice. “We’ve been actively targeting an audience who are new to PlayStation this gen in our marketing, but retail have a huge part to play in growing the franchise too. Together, we’ve already achieved great success in converting this audience into fans with [2015 compilation] Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, so the fanbase is now far bigger than ever before. “The game was developed as a playable summer blockbuster ﬁlm so we’re conﬁdent it will have signiﬁcant mainsteam appeal.”
WII U WASN’T A COMPLETE DISASTER
o much has been written about the things Wii U did wrong, that to drag back over them feels like a waste of words. There was the poor messaging and marketing, the lack of thirdparty games, the high price, the poorly thought-out gimmick... the Wii U is the perfect case study on how not to launch a console. But as Wii U enters what will probably be its ﬁnal year, I thought it might be worthwhile looking at what Nintendo did right: DLC Nintendo doubled its digital revenues between 2014 and 2016, and the add-on content it produced for Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros may well have been the reason. This is a new area for Nintendo, but the ﬁrm struck a smart balance between giving away content for free (to re-engage the fans) and then producing generous DLC packs. Nintendo practically released an entire game’s worth of content with its DLC for Mario Kart 8 and struck deals with Capcom, Square and Sega to bring their characters into Smash Bros.
Sony’s marketing push for Uncharted 4 is the ﬁrm’s largest ever for a game
PRE-ORDER TOP 10
UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END (PS4)
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Special Edition (PS4)
Doom + Demon Multiplayer Pack (PS4)
No Man’s Sky (PS4)
Doom + Demon Multiplayer Pack (XO)
Valkyria Chronicles Europa Edition (PS4)
Gears of War 4 (XO)
Maﬁa III + Pre-order bonuses (PS4)
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness Limited Editon (PS4)
AMIIBO Amiibo was supposed to be Nintendo’s answer to Skylanders – toys designed to augment existing games. That’s not really what’s happened. Instead, these ﬁgures have become collector products that have encouraged Nintendo’s die-hard fans to part with an extra £5 to £10 with most major game releases.
Sony Bethesda Sony Bethesda Sega Microsoft 2K Games
Figurines as part of a special edition sets is nothing new, but by being part of a larger collector range, they’ve become an obsession for Nintendo’s biggest fans. 35m Amiibo ﬁgures have shipped worldwide. THE GAMES Nintendo’s reputation for launching successful consoles may be under threat, but its renown for creating good games remains intact. There wasn’t nearly enough of them, but most of Nintendo’s ﬁrst-party eﬀorts this gen have been amongst the best titles the ﬁrm has produced according to Metacritic. SPLATOON Splatoon was the ﬁrst major new Nintendo IP since 2006’s Wii Sports, and the ﬁrm’s ﬁrst eﬀort at a big online game. Not only does it run smoothly, it was critically lauded and has sold 4.3m units – more than a third of Wii U owners bought it. I wouldn’t be surprised if Splatoon 2 was one of the ﬁrst titles commissioned for NX. Last week, former Xbox president Robbie Bach told MCV that Microsoft made two lists when working on Xbox 360 - it listed the many mistakes it made with the ﬁrst Xbox, and then jotted down the few things it did right. He said Microsoft set about ﬁxing the things on that ﬁrst list, before working that second list even harder. If Nintendo can only do the same with NX, then it could well be an eﬀective force in video games once again. firstname.lastname@example.org
May 6th 2016
The Chinese Room: Indie games development is entering an ‘ice age’ Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture dev says indies must be prepared to fail because Steam is ‘bloated’ by Christopher Dring THE creator of one of the biggest digital hits of 2015 says that it’s a ‘scary time’ for independent games developers. Dan Pinchbeck is the creative lead of The Chinese Room, which created Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture. Speaking during the latest MCV & Develop Podcast, he dismissed the so-called indieapocalypse, but says the volume of titles on Steam and the
exposure on those stores, whether that’s Steam or the App Store, you’re almost certain to sink without trace. You’ve got to be developing those relationships with the people that will get your game that visibility. And don’t take for granted that, even with that, your game is going to do well.” He continued: “Even established studios like us are going: ‘Ok, this is a bit of a scary time to be going to market.’” Turn to page 18 for the full interview.
App Store makes it very diﬃcult for games to break through. “I don’t believe in the Indieapocalypse, but I do think we are in a bit of an ice age,” he said. “It’s really hard at the moment. Steam is bloated. You are competing with ideas rather than fully functional games a lot of the time, which is really tough. “The mobile market terriﬁes me. Unless you have a relationship with the distributors that is going to more or less guarantee you
Gaming ‘Tinder’ app seeks £800,000 investment by Alex Calvin NEW gaming social network TreyBro is looking for £800,000 in ﬁnancial backing. Described as ‘Tinder for gamers’, this mobile app that allows gamers to ﬁnd people to play with. It has a Tinder-style interface, where users swipe left or right to say yes or no
(£788,603),” co-founder Patrick O’Callaghan said. “We are going to talk to venture capitalists – but we are cautious. We want to work with trusted people that are going to keep our vision. All we want to do is make online gaming better and if someone is going to negatively eﬀect that, then we won’t do it.”
to people. It also includes a web application that allows gamers to anonymously talk. TreyBro initially launched in late summer 2015, and has raised €80,000 (£63,088) in seed funding. “With our Series A funding round we are targeting €900,000 (£709,743) to €1m
Wipeout creator wants the licence to make another one by Alex Calvin THE co-creator of Wipeout Nick Burcombe has said he would make another entry in the sci-ﬁ racing franchise, if Sony would let him. Wipeout, developed by Psygnosis, was released in 1995 as a launch title for the PlayStation. The most recent game in the series was released in January 2012. When asked by MCV whether he would be interested in making
May 6th 2016
a spiritual successor, he said he could do it – but he’d want the Wipeout brand. “If [my latest project] Table Top Racing is successful, I know I can put a team together for it as I get asked every week if we’re making a new Wipeout,” Burcombe said. “But I’d have to make that PR story work on a Kickstarter level. You’d have to ﬁnd out if there’s an audience for it ﬁrst. I’d be looking
I get asked every week if we’re making a new Wipeout. Nick Burcombe, Psygnosis
at a proper undertaking on this and make it so that players can create their own tracks and really reinvent the whole thing. “If there’s demand there, we’d love to meet it. But as it stands right now, without the Wipeout brand on it – which I doubt Sony is about to relinquish anytime soon – it’s kind of out of the question without Sony’s blessing.” Burcombe discusses the birth of Wipeout on page 24.
The UK games merchandise market is lagging behind the US, says licensing guru More publishers need to start treating their games like entertainment brands, explains Rob Stevenson by Marie Dealessandri THE UK games market must learn from its American cousins if it wants to build a sizeable merchandise market. Former Ubisoft licensing head Rob Stevenson, who has just launched his Huge Crate merchandise business, says the UK is falling behind the US due to publishers and retailers not viewing video games as entertainment brands. “The UK merchandise market is a nascent and growing
market,” Stevenson commented. “Generally it’s up but it has its moments when it seems to not perform as well as it should. It’s still trying to ﬁnd out where the right price point is, where are the best products, what do people want, and it’s still very much a learning curve for everybody, retailers, suppliers or manufacturers.” He added: “An education job has to be done by the industry to explain the value of gaming. There’s still an old school perception of what a game
actually is, they don’t see it as a brand, they just see it as a game. Whereas Star Wars they would see as a brand. Specialist retailers are very much learning about the opportunity of merchandise.” Stevenson added that the US is far ahead regarding the merchandise market, with GameStop being a good example. “With the acquisition by GameStop of ThinkGeek and the growth of their stores across the world and things like Zing, they’re learning to diversify and become a multi-channel and a multi-format retailer.”
‘Yes there’s room for three Rollercoaster games’ by Christopher Dring THERE are three rollercoaster video games released within weeks of each other, and that’s just ﬁne, say the developers. Frontier’s Planet Coaster was released in alpha last month just ahead of Atari’s Rollercoaster Tycoon World, which debuted on Steam’s Early Access six days later. Meanwhile, Kickstartedproject Parkitect comes to Steam this week. “The tycoon simulation genre is back,” said Frontier’s creative director Jonny Watts. “You’ve got Cities Skylines, Prison Architect, Parkitect, even Rollercoaster Tycoon World, it shows there is a market for them. “You’ve always had Battlefront and Call of Duty in shooters, so I think genres can have more than one game in it.
“[All these games] justify that the time is right and that there has been an absence of proper Tycoon games for ten years.” Parkitect programmer Sebastian Mayer added: “We all grew up with Theme Park and Rollercoaster Tycoon and there hasn’t been a game like these that we thoroughly enjoyed for 10 years or so. “Just half a year or so after we announced Parkitect, we suddenly had two competitors from wellknown companies. We had been waiting for a decade for a new entry in the Rollercoaster Tycoon franchise, so that was quite the surprise when their new game was announced. As a player, I’m very excited by this development though, and I think the renewed attention for the genre will beneﬁt our own game too in the end.” For more on the inﬂux in rollercoaster titles, head to page 22.
Frontier’s Jonny Watts says the tycoon simulation genre is back
May 6th 2016
UP & DOWN
Market Data Spring and Bank Holiday promotions help keep software revenue relatively ﬂat
DARK SOULS III sales dip 29 per cent as the game falls from second place to third
£9.1m 266,840 units £6.6m 220,813 units
Week Ending April 16th
Week Ending April 23rd
£6.1m 215,881 units
Week Ending April 30th
SALES OF Call of Duty: Black Ops III rose 82 per cent as DLC pack Eclipse launches
CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK THIS WEEK: UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END
[INFO] FORMATS: PS4 RELEASED: May 10th PUBLISHER: Sony DISTRIBUTOR: CentreSoft CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
May 6th 2016
PLAYSTATION is rolling out its biggest ever video game marketing campaign for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Sony has been pushing A Thief’s End since the launch of The Nathan Drake Collection in October 2015. Ads have appeared alongside the likes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens last December as well as football on Boxing Day At launch, PlayStation has booked in blanket TV coverage. Ads have appeared alongside the season ﬁnale of The Walking Dead as well as the ﬁrst episode of Game of Thrones. That’s on top of ‘unavoidable’ outdoor activity. The title will also be pushed digitally with homepage takeovers, and physically with a national print ad campaign. The ﬁrm says that every beat of its campaign has been backed by above-the-line marketing spend, such as for its multiplayer trailer
Sony has been promoting A Thief’s End since the launch of The Nathan Drake Collection
at Paris Games Week 2015 and SKU announcements. Sony is also trying to expand the Uncharted 4 fanbase in order to capitalise on PS4’s install base. “Broadening the Uncharted fan base has always been a priority for us, especially now that we have a wider install base than any of our competitors,” product marketing manager Joe Palmer said.
“The opportunity for us to convert gamers who have never played an Uncharted game before is massive, and that’s before we target users who don’t already own a PS4. Targeting this new audience has been a big part of our always-on strategy, and we’ve seen huge spikes in audience awareness and interest oﬀ the back of this.”
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
NINTENDO REVEALS MARCH 2017 NX LAUNCH
Platform holder Nintendo has announced that its new console, codenamed NX, will be hitting shelves in March 2017. Furthermore, the company will not be showing oﬀ the new hardware at E3 in June. In addition, the long-awaited Wii U Zelda title will be launching for the NX, too.
Sony has revealed that it sold 17.7 million PS4s in the 2016 ﬁscal year, bringing life-to-date sales up to 40 million
61% @TheLastMetroid Zelda Wii U apparently delayed until next year, and coming to NX too. That’s the Wii U dead in the water, then.
@Wesley_Copeland NX in 2017. Cool, but I worry about whether it’ll be as powerful as the Xbox Five and PS4.5745.
Lee Garbutt, God is a Geek Wednesday, April 27th
Wesley Copeland, freelance writer Wednesday, April 27th
ACTIVISION REVEALS 2016 CALL OF DUTY GAMES
ROMERO BLACKROOM KICKSTARTER CANCELLED
Not one, but two, Call of Duty titles are launching this year. Activision has revealed that the main release is sci-ﬁ themed Inﬁnite Warfare. The Legacy Edition of that will feature a remaster of Modern Warfare.
A Kickstarter for a new game from Doom creator John Romero called Blackroom has been cancelled after four days. This is so that the development team can make a gameplay demo for the title.
@Quindaaawg Couldn’t give a monkey’s fart about the new Call of Duty. Modern Warfare Remastered however, give it to me now.
@michaelgapper The Blackroom Kickstarter made the same mistake lots of games made in 2013 - pitching a vision, not a product.
Emma Quinlan, freelance writer Monday, May 2nd
Michael Gapper, Frontier Developments Saturday, April 30th
@ScarletCatalie So Call of Duty is turning into Halo. Okay, games industry.
Nintendo’s earnings fell 60.6 per cent to $150m yearon-year, with revenue dipping to $4.5bn
51.2m iPhone sales have dropped for the ﬁrst time. Apple says iPhone sales have fallen by 10m units year-on-year to 51.2m
11% Research ﬁrm Newzoo says 11 per cent of people aged between 10 and 65 are considering buying a VR headset
5% SuperData reports that digital game sales were up ﬁve per cent year-on-year for the month of March
@Cookie_Vonster Not at all surprising. To be honest, if Romero wasn’t attached this would have sunk without trace.
Natalie Clayton, Abertay University Monday, May 2nd
Robbie Cooke, Rebellion Friday, April 29th
ANKA Headset - PDP Design and manufacture the Oﬃcially licensed Microsoft – fully Wireless Headset for Xbox ONE
GAMESAID THIS WEEK .................................................... PLAY YOUR PART BECOME A MEMBER AMBASSADOR TRUSTEE WWW.GAMESAID.ORG
DEVOLVER HUMBLE BUNDLE
GAMESAID GOLF DAY
STAND UP FOR GAMESAID
Indie publisher Devolver has put a number of its games on Humble Bundle. Consumers can pick up $164 worth of its releases, including Ronin and Titan Souls, for whatever they want to pay. Some proceeds 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 email@example.com.
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.
May 6th 2016
Lick PR hires journalist Ian Dransﬁeld Dransﬁeld joins as junior account manager ONew features editor for GamesTM OGine joins Keywords Studios LICK PR | Freelance journalist IAN DRANSFIELD has joined the Londonbased PR agency Lick as junior account manager. Dransfield previously produced written and video content for the likes of The Guardian, Kotaku, PC Gamer, GamesTM and Eurogamer. Before that, he also worked at Imagine Publishing as senior staff writer for over three years. “I’m very happy to make the leap to PR with such an experienced and downright bloody smart team as the one here at Lick. Also: dogs in the office (but don’t tell the building manager),” he said.
May 6th 2016
IMAGINE PUBLISHING | Former senior staff writer JOSH WEST has been promoted to features editor at GamesTM magazine. West joined Imagine Publishing in 2012 as staff writer, having spent seven years as a freelancer. He also worked for other magazines at the publisher, such as X-One magazine and NowGamer. “I am incredibly psyched to be appointed features editor on GamesTM. I’ve spent the last few years working in print and I still believe that magazines are the very best place to read about video games and the culture that
surrounds them,” West said. “Working alongside a brilliant team, the plan is the same as it has always been: to continue finding creative and awesome ways to cover the latest and greatest in gaming.” KEYWORDS STUDIOS | The service provider for the video games industry has hired JAIME GINE as chief customer officer. Gine was EA’s VP of international development services for the past 15 years. Chief executive Andrew Day stated: “The appointment of Jaime ushers in a new phase of development at Keywords in which we will be working
with clients to configure services and talent from Keywords studios around the world to best fit with publishers’ needs.” Gine added: “I consider Keywords Studios to be the leader in the market for the delivery of high quality services, and I am delighted to be joining them. “I look forward to working with a team of remarkable talented people and helping them deliver integrated development services to our clients, allowing content creators to focus on what is most important to them and giving them the space and time to unleash their creativity.”
WEEKLY SALES CHARTS
WEEKLY CHARTS SONY’S Rachet & Clank tops the UK charts again this week, in spite of a 49 per cent drop oﬀ in sales. Sony PS4 exclusive titles have spent eight weeks at the top of the UK charts so far, compared to ﬁve weeks for Xbox One games. In the meantime, Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops III makes its comeback to the Top Three, gaining ﬁve spots to No.2. The launch of the second DLC for the title, as well as the arrival of new PS4 bundles, resulted in a 82 per cent increase in sales. The (now conﬁrmed) rumour about the launch of Call of Duty: Inﬁnite Warfare may have also boosted the sales. The only new entry this week is Nintendo’s YoKai Watch, which debuts at No.14.
Bank Holiday retailer promotions also allowed a few titles to return to the Top 10: LEGO Marvel Avengers is back at No.6, GTA V rises to No.8 and Far Cry Primal jumps to No.9. Three quarters of the Top 40 saw sales rise this week. Over on mobile, Slither.io is still leading the free iOS titles charts, but Angry Birds 2 is not far behind: Rovio’s title is No.3 on iPad and No.2 on iPhone. Angry Birds is also back in the iPhone paid listings, at No.6. The hype surrounding the release of the Angry Birds Movie on May 13th probably helped both games rise up the rankings. Meanwhile, on Steam, Bandai Namco’s Dark Souls III is still No.1.
GLOBAL STEAM CHARTS (UNITS)
01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
LW 02 04 06 RE RE NEW 03 05 09
DARK SOULS III DEVELOPER: FROMSOFTWARE PUBLISHER: BANDAI NAMCO
TITLE PUBLISHER Rocket League Psyonix Counter-Strike: Global Oﬀensive Valve Grand Theft Auto V Rockstar ARK: Survival Evolved Studio Wildcard Shadow of Mordor Game of the Year Edition Warner Bros Total War: Warhammer (P) Sega Battleﬂeet Gothic: Armada Focus Dark Souls III Deluxe Edition Bandai Namco Factorio Wube
TOP 40 UK PHYSICAL RETAIL 02
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 01 07 02 04 05 11 08 12 17 10 14 03 23 NEW 15 16 18 21 20 09 22 19 24 06 40 RE 25 38 RE 13 RE 32 28 34 27 RE RE 36 31 35
Title Ratchet & Clank Call of Duty: Black Ops III Dark Souls III Tom Clancy’s The Division EA Sports UFC 2 LEGO Marvel’s Avengers FIFA 16 Grand Theft Auto V Far Cry Primal Dirt Rally LEGO Jurassic World Star Wars Battlefront UEFA Euro 2016 Pro Evolution Soccer Yo-Kai Watch Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 WWE 2K16 Minecraft: Xbox Edition Destiny: The Taken King Forza Motorsport 6 Quantum Break Minecraft: PlayStation Edition Minecraft: Story Mode Disney Inﬁnity 3.0 Star Fox Zero Zoo Tycoon Kinect Sports: Rivals Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege Halo 5: Guardians Until Dawn Rugby Challenge 3 Football Manager 2016 Batman: Arkham Knight Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Terraria LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga LEGO Marvel Super Heroes The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt Just Cause 3 Fallout 4 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Source: Steam, Period: April 25th to May 1st May 6th 2016
Format Publisher PS4 Sony PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Activision Blizzard PS4, XO, PC Bandai Namco PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft PS4, XO EA PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, PC Warner Bros PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC EA PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Rockstar PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft PS4, XO Codemasters PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita, PC Warner Bros PS4, XO, PC EA PS4, PS3 Konami 3DS Nintendo PS4, XO, PC EA PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC 2K Games XO, 360 Microsoft PS4, XO, PS3, 360 Activision Blizzard XO Microsoft XO Microsoft PS4, PS3, Vita Sony PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Telltale Games/Avanquest PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360 Disney Wii U Nintendo XO Microsoft XO Microsoft PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft XO Microsoft PS4 Sony PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Alternative PC Sega PS4, XO, PC Warner Bros PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft PS4, XO, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita, PC 505 Games PS3, 360, Wii, DS LucasArts PS4, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita, DS, PC Warner Bros PS4, XO, PC Bandai Namco PS4, XO, PC Square Enix PS4, XO, PC Bethesda PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Konami
Source: UKIE/GfK Entertainment, Period: Week ending April 30th 12
WEEKLY SALES CHARTS
UK IPAD PAID
01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
LW 06 02 NEW NEW 10 08 09 RE RE
UK IPHONE PAID
MINECRAFT: POCKET EDITION DEVELOPER: MOJANG
Title Terraria LEGO Jurassic World Midnight Calling: Anabel Labyrinths of the World: Forbidden Muse Cut the Rope: Magic Minecraft: Story Mode The Sims 3 Hide N Seek : Mini Game With Worldwide Multiplayer Soccer Physics
TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
Developer 505 Games Warner Bros Big Fish Big Fish ZeptoLab Telltale EA Wang Wei Otto-Ville Ojala
LW 02 03 04 06 RE 08 RE RE RE
MINECRAFT: POCKET EDITION DEVELOPER: MOJANG
Title Plague Inc. Heads Up! Monopoly Game Football Manager Mobile 2016 Angry Birds Bloons TD 5 Storage Hunters UK : The Game Cut the Rope: Magic Hitman: Sniper
Source: UKIE/Reﬂ ection, Period: April 18th to April 24th
Source: UKIE/Reﬂ ection, Period: April 18th to April 24th
UK IPAD GROSSING (REVENUE)
UK IPHONE GROSSING (REVENUE)
TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
LW 02 03 04 06 07 06 08 RE 09
CLASH OF CLANS DEVELOPER: SUPERCELL
Title Candy Crush Saga Game of War - Fire Age Candy Crush Soda Saga Mobile Strike Clash Royale Hay Day Gummy Drop! Candy Crush Jelly Saga Boom Beach
TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
Developer King Machine Zone King Epic War Supercell Supercell Big Fish King Supercell
LW 02 01 04 05 06 09 07 08 10
CANDY CRUSH SAGA DEVELOPER: KING
Title Clash of Clans Clash Royale Game of War - Fire Age Mobile Strike Candy Crush Soda Saga 8 Ball Pool Candy Crush Jelly Saga Marvel Contest of Champions Boom Beach
Source: UKIE/Reﬂ ection, Period: April 18th to April 24th
UK IPHONE FREE (UNITS)
LW 02 10 07 03 05 NEW 06 RE RE
SLITHER.IO DEVELOPER: STEVE HOWSE
Title Disney Crossy Road Angry Birds 2 Disney Inﬁnity 3.0 Toy Box: Play Without Limits Piano Tiles 2 Color Switch Roof Jumping 3 Parking Simulator Roblox Agar.io Jurassic World: The Game
TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
Developer Disney Rovio Entertainment Disney Cheetah Technology Marc Lejeune Aidem Media Roblox Corporation Miniclip.com Ludia
Source: UKIE/Reﬂ ection, Period: April 18th to April 24th www.mcvuk.com
Developer Supercell Supercell Machine Zone Epic War King Miniclip.com King Kabam Supercell
Source: UKIE/Reﬂ ection, Period: April 18th to April 24th
UK IPAD FREE (UNITS)
TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
Developer Ndemic Creations Warner Bros EA Sega Rovio Entertainment Ninja Kiwi UKTV Interactive ZeptoLab Square Enix
LW 07 04 RE 06 02 NEW NEW RE 08
SLITHER.IO DEVELOPER: STEVE HOWSE
Title Angry Birds 2 Stack Flick Golf Extreme Color Switch Disney Crossy Road Trump on the Run Dictator 2 Versus Run Piano Tiles 2
Developer Rovio Entertainment Ketchapp Full Fat Marc Lejeune Disney Josiah Jenkins Tigrido Ketchapp Cheetah Technology
Source: UKIE/Reﬂ ection, Period: April 18th to April 24th 13
May 6th 2016
ANGRY BIRDS IS BACK
Anger management Rovio is going big on re-establishing its Angry Birds brand. There’s a film, a new game and licensing deals with LEGO, McDonalds and H&M. The Finnish company isn’t messing around – but can it make Angry Birds a smash hit again? Alex Calvin speaks to the firm
n its native Finland, Rovio means pyre. And for many years, thanks to the success of its Angry Birds brand, the company burned bright. Following the smash hit success of the original game, the firm has launched another 14 Angry Birds titles, spin-offs and tie-in releases, resulting in three billion downloads. Rovio also diversified and expanded into the toys, education, book publishing and theme parks. But even the most fantastic flame fades eventually. And Rovio’s success was no different. In 2013, its profits were slashed in half. In 2014, the firm sacked 16 per cent of its workforce in Finland, and then a further 110 employees lost their jobs. Last year, an additional 473 roles were axed. But, speaking to MCV, Rovio is in high spirits. It has a Hollywood film hitting UK cinema screens on May 13th. Its new game – Angry Birds Action – launched on mobile devices last week. It has licensing deals with huge global brands including LEGO, McDonalds (which nearly resulted in the fast food chain’s Happy Meals being rebranded Angry Meals) and H&M. Rovio is doing all it can to resurrect its iconic brand. “We are experiencing a big resurgence with the movie coming out and appealing to a broader audience than purely the games, though they are still core to our business,”
May 6th 2016
chief commercial officer Alex Lambeek says. “The movie will make everyone interested in Angry Birds and we’ll become relevant to everyone. And of course, we have ambitions beyond the movie as well. What we can do with Angry Birds will go to completely new areas.” He continues: “The film is taking the brand to the next level. That’s how I would put it.” The Angry Birds Movie is one of four game films coming out this year, alongside Ratchet & Clank, Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed. And it arguably has the widest appeal of all four. Rovio, at the very least, has high expectations of its cinematic debut. “The Angry Bird Movie is going to be one of this year’s biggest blockbuster animation films,” Lambeek says. “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.”
Angry Birds can be as big as it was. But now we’re looking to be a hot property in entertainment rather than just games. Alex Lambeek, Rovio
one billion of these are going to be available around the world – many of these will be found on products from the likes of LEGO, McDonalds, H&M, Ravensburger, Peperami and Walmart. Users can even access a special secret ending to the film using Angry Birds Action. “It just makes so much sense to link the game and real life,” Lambeek says. “The codes are very easy to put on any product, whether it’s in a retail store or on a box. It’s incredibly easy through the game just to scan these codes. It’ll help the enjoyment of the consumers. Just imagine, you are busy assembling a LEGO product and see a Bird Code on the instructions – you scan and see the part-built model in front of you come to life. Can you imagine what that’ll be
FORGET ABOUT THE PRICE TAG OVER its lifespan, Rovio has moved from premium to the free-to-play business model, and Angry Birds Action will continue with the microtransactions. “The premium model is not really there on mobile anymore,” chief marketing officer Ville Heijari explains. “It is there for a product like Monument Valley where you have this individual beautifully crafted item that warrants that model. They can find success in their right. Finding that kind of productto-market fit is incredibly hard.
LIGHTS, CAMERA Rovio’s brand new game Angry Birds Action – along with the film – is central to its plans for the coming year. It is a pinball arcade-style game, and is in keeping with the physics-based gameplay the series is known for. In addition to the pinball, two dozen other mini-games are available and consumers access these by scanning Angry Birdsthemed QR codes. More than
“The sad truth for the majority of developers is the premium market just isn’t there anymore. If you get your game featured on the App Store or Google Play storefronts as the editor’s choice, you may only end up with 5,000 paid downloads in your week.” Chief commercial officer Alex Lambeek adds: “It’s really moving games from being products to being services and we are a long way down the track in terms of understanding consumers, how they behave within the games and how to keep them engaged.
ANGRY BIRDS IS BACK
Rovio has redesigned its iconic characters for The Angry Birds Movie
like for a little kid? What else will they want to buy in the future to get more of this kind of content, and continue to play with their toy? Retailers are also very important in getting the product to the fans (more about that in Augmented Retail) and can let the consumer experience the item before buying it. “It’s also very cost effective. You don’t have to do traditional TV ads. We believe what I call ‘gamification of retail’ has a great future. It’s a first step and we think it can save retailers in the future, if they get into this gamification space. If they get into it in a big way, it can make a big difference to their business.” FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS After the initial success of Angry Birds, Rovio found itself involved in all manner of areas. It was opening a book publishing arm
and even getting involved in education, but now the Finnish company is focused on games and media. Rovio believes that all of this – the film, the game, the licensing deals – can help Angry Birds once again be a blockbuster success. “Angry Birds can absolutely be as big as it was,” says 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.” He concludes: “The ambition is to evolve into an entertainment company. We are building our brand to have much broader appeal and we believe by doing that, which the game and film enable, will allow us to grow.”
Rovio chief commercial oﬃcer Lambeek (top) and chief marketing oﬃcer Heijari (above)
PART of Rovio’s new Angry Birds Action experience is an AR aspect that sees consumers unlocking new mini-games by scanning QR codes on products. And Rovio’s chief commercial officer Alex Lambeek says that this use of technology could be important to the future of physical retail. “Retailers by and large recognise that consumers are increasingly in the digital space browsing, exploring and buying products,” he says. “Brick and mortar in general is having a very difficult time. Many retailers are struggling. Doesn’t it just make a lot of sense to make shopping more fun through gamification? There’s a real benefit to consumers. If they can experience things by going to stores. “Everyone has their phone with them and a lot of people are playing games and apps as well. Why not use your game apps to actually see what you can buy at the point of sale and have a little bit of fun on the way? You’ll probably get the kids along to stores if they know there’s a treasure hunt or stuff happening. It would just make shopping more fun and it allows you to explore what you are buying before you buy it in ways you otherwise cannot.”
May 6th 2016
FEATURE SALES IMPACT OF LET’S PLAYS
Let’s chat about Let’s Plays Let’s Play videos are immensely popular and are watched by millions of modern gamers. But are they actually having an adverse impact on the commercial performance of some releases? Alex Calvin speaks to developers to get their views
ince the platform launched, YouTube has become a major force within the games industry. Millions of people spend billions of hours watching their favourite personalities do Let’s Plays – videos of them playing games. This content has become influential and the opinions of these people are held in high regard by their fans. But do they actually help sales? If a consumer can watch the whole game on YouTube, why should they bother buying it? One developer who has voiced this concern was Ryan Green, one of the minds behind the deeply personal narrative-driven game That Dragon, Cancer, who in March said that Let’s Plays have had a hugely negative impact on the game’s sales. EXPOSING YOURSELF Yet many indie developers say that they’ve seen the opposite happen. “Let’s Plays have a massive effect. It makes a lot of sense because I’m not spending lots of money on marketing, trailers or putting out paid-for advertising,” says developer Mike Bithell, who has credited Let’s Play coverage by TotalBiscuit for the success of his first solo game Thomas Was Alone. “What a Let’s Player does is put my game out in front of hundreds of thousands if not millions of players. We’ve always seen a very high correlation between someone with millions of subscribers showing our game and talking about it and then seeing a sales impact. It raised awareness I guess is what I’m
May 6th 2016
YouTubers can disable licensed music in Remedy’s Quantum Break, thus stopping their videos being taken down
MADE FOR YOUTUBE YOUTUBE has become such a force within games now that it’s something creators think about during development. “We are seeing games made with viewers in mind, which, as a designer, is an interesting thing to see happen” indie dev Mike Bithell says. “If you are a developer and you are making a game right now, that’s something to consider. If your title is successful, it will be streamed, it will be Let’s Played, so making sure it works in that context is a savvy move.” He continues: “Things to keep in mind are how interfaces work, making a game fun to watch, how you make sure it communicates visually so viewers can tell what’s going on from a small window.” Remedy’s latest title Quantum Break even features options to disable licensed music within the game, thereby making it easier for YouTubers to promote
If 90 per cent of your game can be summarised in a YouTube video then that should be a factor in its pricing. Dan Pearce, Four Circle Interactive
the release without fear of videos being taken down by YouTube’s Content ID system (which searches for copyright infringement by examining video footage and audio). “Licensed music is an interesting one,” Bithell says. “I’ve found myself wanting to use a licensed track and this has come up. We’d have to do something to prevent a copyright strike because people are going to get in trouble for that” Four Circle’s Dan Pearce adds: “Quantum Break having the option to take out licensed music means more people are talking about the game. More people are creating content with it and it makes it easier for YouTubers. It’s one of those things where Microsoft or Remedy recognised that it is a symbiotic relationship between developer and YouTuber, and that helping that along can be a really, really good thing, so long as the game suits it.”
SALES IMPACT OF LET’S PLAYS FEATURE
(Above left to right): Indie developers Pearce, Bithell, Barlow and Marshall.
The maker of That Dragon, Cancer has said Let’s Plays hurt the sales performance of his game
saying and we’ve always seen a correlation and the same pattern’s happening with [Bithell’s second solo game] Volume as well.” Her Story developer Sam Barlow adds: “In my case I don’t think Let’s Plays have cannibalised sales. It may have helped raise awareness” But it isn’t always so positive. Indie developer Dan Pearce has released both a narrative-driven project in Castles in the Sky and a more ‘gamey’ title, Ten Second Ninja, and YouTube’s impact varied between titles. “From my experience, Let’s Plays have been a mixed bag,” he says. “Let’s Plays significantly helped Ten Second Ninja; I don’t think they helped Castles in the Sky. That’s the key to this whole discussion, which is that there isn’t a onesize-fits-all approach to video monetisation and Let’s Plays. “Let’s Plays and streaming can benefit hugely, but I feel like for a more linear experience like That Dragon, Cancer, where the gameplay isn’t the focus and may
really small YouTuber shows off my material, there’s no skin off my nose from that. Their viewer count isn’t necessarily going to be big enough to bring in any revenue
not be the most interesting part of the game, it could be a detriment. What indie developers have to take on board is that this should be a factor in how you monetise your game. That Dragon, Cancer launched at a pretty high price point, so you have to be committed to that purchase. If that whole game can be summarised 90 per cent in a YouTube video then I feel like that should have been a factor in pricing the game.”
Demanding revenue from YouTubers isn’t worth it. Any kickback I see in sales is better in the long-run.
MONEY, IT’S A GAS Debate has also raged about the legality of Let’s Plays. Developers, including outspoken Fez creator Phil Fish, have argued that YouTubers should payout ‘huge portions’ of their revenue to game makers featured in videos. Big corporations, such as Nintendo, have enacted measures to share revenue generated from videos of its games. “Demanding revenue from YouTubers isn’t worth it,” Size Five’s Dan Marshall says. “If a
Dan Marshall, Size Five Games
anyway. And with massive YouTubers who have millions of followers, any kickback I see in sales from them covering my game is going to be better for me in the long run. “It is much more beneficial than me saying: ‘your ten minute video is all footage of my game, I
want four per cent of everything that video brings in’. It’s just not worth it.” Pearce adds: “Games are inherently a collaborative thing. It’s not like a film where you create it and put it out, it’s a constant conversation. Even if you are just a standard player playing a game on your own, no camera equipment or anything. These people still make decisions in the game, that’s the communication and that’s going on throughout the game. “If we’re going to use a dancing analogy, developers demanding revenue from YouTubers is like taking all the credit for this amazing performance just because you were the lead. I don’t think that’s fair at all. “Developers are collaborating with YouTubers. They didn’t know they were doing it, but that’s what they were doing when they put the game out there.” He concludes: “And I honestly think that’s a wonderful thing.”
May 6th 2016
INTERVIEW DAN PINCHBECK
The Chinese Room on BAFTAs, publishers and the indie ‘Ice Age’ Ahead of his Q&A session with independent developers at today’s Interface conference, Christopher Dring and Matt Jarvis chat with Dan Pinchbeck, studio head of BAFTA-award winning studio The Chinese Room, on the changing face of making indie games
It was a really big year for indie games, or at least more unusual projects. We saw that at the BAFTAs with your own Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture picking up three awards. What did you make of that? When we released Dear Esther a few years ago, we got a few BAFTA nominations, but we didn’t win, it was the year Journey cleaned up. People kept saying: ‘this is the year of the indies’, but it was really a kind of a year where indies got nominated, but they didn’t win... except for Journey. But this year, the big winners were really different, you had Rapture, and Her Story and Rocket League. Everyone raves about innovation and experimentation, but when it comes to awards, they tend to go to traditional games. This year’s BAFTAs was a powerful message to send out as to why innovation, creativity and experimentation is worth doing, and what small teams can bring to the table in terms of pushing games forward. It’s a great thing to show new developers just starting up that it is entirely possible to make what you want, and it could get recognised.
Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture would have topped the UK charts if digital data was counted. Do you want this data? Absolutely. It’s really important. With consoles it is very hard to get those figures, and as a developer
May 6th 2016
you’re also under contract with the publishers where you’re not allowed to talk about them. In fact, as a developer you’re not allowed to talk about anything. But this information is a really important statement to be making, particularly in terms of UK development where we’ve seen a number of high profile studio closures. There are a lot of people doing amazing work in this country, and the more we draw attention to that, the better.
You are only as good as the game you are putting out there. You might survive one failure, but you won’t survive two. Dan Pinchbeck, The Chinese Room
Following the high profile issues you had with Sony, you’ve decided to publish your own games. Will you ever work with a publisher again? Even though we are making Total Dark without a publisher, we are still talking to them. We are not against publishers at all, one bad relationship should not colour the entire process. The industry is full of great partnerships between developers and publishers. With Total Dark, we wanted to make something that was just ours. To do something that is a bit smaller. We had pumped so much into Rapture, we said: ‘let’s just make this idea, and it will be different for us to do this in a selffunded way.’ The reality is that if you have a self-funded game that works, you’re going to do much better financially than a publisherfunded game. Because if you are spending someone’s money, they want to make sure their return on investment is good. If you’re
spending your own money, you reap all of the rewards. But it’s also about trying something new as a studio. We’ve never self-funded a major game before. But we are still talking to publishers, and hopefully Total Dark won’t be the only game we make in the next 12 months. It’s a risk going it alone. I am aware that, sure we made good games, but [2012 hit] Esther was in the right place at the right time. But we’ve also been smart. We haven’t got sucked up in the enthusiasm of growth. We’ve not said: ‘We can be 50 people or 100 people.’ We’ve always said we don’t want to go above 25 people because I don’t like the idea I can’t talk to people I’m currently making a game with every day. But, you are only as good as the game you are putting out there. You might survive one failure, but you won’t survive two. So you have to make sure your games are really good, and the best way to do that is to ensure what you’re putting out there you are passionate about. We will keep making games as long as we can. You don’t ever think you’re owed it. It’s also not just about the work we are doing, it is how we are doing it. And if we ever thought we are having to make compromises to our working conditions, or put people on wrong contracts, or be dishonest with our team or, frankly, we’re not enjoying it anymore... we’d stop.
DAN PINCHBECK INTERVIEW
Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture won three BAFTAs this year
You mention working conditions. Alex St John (Direct X creator and WildTangent founder) recently made a series of statements about games developers needing to avoid the ‘wage slave’ attitude, before talking about the need to make sacrifices if they want to make art. What did you make of that? He came across as a fucking idiot and the whole world laughed at him. The industry will be a better place when we have fair, decent, diverse, inclusive working conditions for everybody, and anyone that thinks that’s not true is an idiot and will go out of business. Happy people that have been empowered to follow their passion will create better games than those that have been trodden down into the ground. You talk to people at big studios and they go: ‘crunch is inevitable’. But no, crunch is failure. It is bad management, it is overselling a project for too small a budget. Crunch is assuming the people that work for you are a resource to be drained and bled and kicked out. People can’t work effectively beyond a certain number of hours in the day. And that is not some big SJW rant, it is just basic business. If people are spending six hours with their head stuck in code, then
their productivity will drop and they will make mistakes. I don’t know on which planet someone thought this was an effective way to run a business, because it’s bollocks. It’s difficult out there for indie studios today. The indieapocalypse gets talked about a lot. Is it even possible for another small group of developers to do what you’ve managed to do? I don’t believe in the Indieapocalypse, but I do think we are in a bit of an ice age. It’s really hard at the moment. Steam is bloated. My only criticism of Valve is I think they have chucked their responsibility for curatorial control on Steam. You are competing with ideas rather than fully functional games, which is really tough. The mobile market terrifies me. We haven’t really worked in it, but the bloat is just terrifying. Unless you have a relationship with the distributors that is going to more or less guarantee you exposure on those stores, whether that’s Steam or the App Store, you’re almost certain to sink without trace. My core piece of advice, aside from make a really good game, is that you’ve got to be developing those relationships with the people
We are not against publishers, one bad relationship should not colour the entire process. The industry is full of great partnerships between developers and publishers. Dan Pinchbeck, The Chinese Room
that will get your game that visibility. And don’t take for granted that, even with that, your game is going to do well. You need to go into it expecting your game is going to tank and be able to survive that, if you want to make a second game. My thoughts on this depend on my mood. If I am in a good mood, I say it is important that developers go in with their eyes open, and that it is going to be hard for 18 or even 24 months. Even established studios like us are going: ‘Ok, this is a bit of a scary time to be going to market.’. If I am in a bad mood, I view it like there’s probably a healthy Darwinian process happening, where a lot of those start-ups are going to go out business. The ones that are smart will stay and survive, but a lot of the more speculative ‘hey, let’s just make a game, how hard it can be?’ indie rock star myth stuff... will die. And that’s probably not a bad thing because it will thin the market down. But that’s a cruel thing to say, because we’re talking about people’s houses and kids college funds.
Dan Pinchbeck will be answering independent developer questions at today’s Interface conference. For this full interview, check out the latest MCV and Develop Podcast.
May 6th 2016
XXX XXX MCV AWARDS INTERVIEW IGN
The power of specialist media Following IGN’s Media Team win at the MCV Awards last March, Dan Kilby, commercial projects and marketing manager, tells Marie Dealessandri about the company’s strategy, the opportunities offered by eSports and why specialist sites are trusted
Congratulations on winning the Media Team category. Thank you. We put a huge amount of effort into every campaign we work on – from coming up with big, original ideas, making them happen, and ensuring what we do gets results. We also like to think we’re pretty decent people to work with, which can’t hurt. Winning this award means all that hard work has been recognised by our clients, partners and friends in the industry, and that the bestin-class service we offer is indeed just that.
IGN UK’s media team on-stage after collecting their prize at the MCV Awards 2016
Why do you think you won the award this year? We bring new, energetic and exciting opportunities to every campaign and our scale combined with our multi-platform offering means we can make a real impact for our partners. We go to great lengths to come up with a variety of big and creative ideas and we have a vast, global pool of experts, content creators and engineers to collaborate with. There is no problem if an idea comes from London but the best person to work on it is based in San Francisco. The result is that anything we deliver is the best it can possibly be.
demographic starts younger than we traditionally see on IGN. We brought local sites to Poland, France, Brazil, Romania and Hungary and strengthened our app line-up by launching on Apple TV. We also ran some of our most innovative campaigns yet, for the Witcher 3 we teamed up with cinema chain DCM, to create The Witcher Film Club. And in October we recreated Victorian London and live-streamed brand new gameplay footage to people all over the world as we launched the first ever IGN Premiere with Ubisoft for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.
How would you evaluate 2015? 2015 was a great year for IGN: we set traffic records, hitting 5.9m unique visitors in the UK. We launched IGN in new markets, released new products, forged exciting partnerships, and we have been the exclusive gaming partner on Snapchat’s Discover platform, whose core
Do you plan to launch more new features like IGN Premiere? You can count on it. For us, it’s incredibly important to keep our offering fresh for both our users and partners as the game and digital media space evolves at an incredible pace. Our business relies on us being able to set that pace.
May 6th 2016
I find it very interesting that YouTubers – often dubbed ‘influencers’ – carry less influence than specialist press. Dan Kilby, IGN UK
What are your expectations for the year to come? I’m really looking forward to exploring opportunities within the eSports space. Last year we launched a new video series with Coca-Cola called eSports Weekly and just this month have announced a new radio show: IGN eSports Today. In the UK we are involved in exciting conversations to bring local, original eSports programming to IGN and will hopefully have more to share soon. We recently published data showing that 83 per cent of UK gamers trust the specialist games press and 68 per cent of them are influenced by it – are you surprised by these figures? It’s very easy to have one’s perspective warped by the hostile vocal minority present in comments, forums and social media, who are claiming that ‘everyone hates this game’, ‘no one likes this website’ or ‘X developer sucks’. The reality is that they don’t represent the wider gaming population and figures like this bring a warming reassurance to that theory. I find it very interesting that YouTubers – often dubbed ‘influencers’ – carry less influence than specialist press, which to me screams how important heritage and the cumulative experience that comes with that is to sites like IGN. Ultimately, I believe influencing the decision to actually purchase a product is the result of the many different factors and we shouldn’t identify any as the silver bullet.
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EL OF LAUG R R A B A E B O T G IN O G ’S BACK AND IT
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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
THE MC IMRAN YUSUF
Monday May 9th • 8pm (doors from 6:30pm) The Comedy Store, London
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FEATURE ROLLERCOASTER SIMS
Ride of their lives After years of practically nothing, there are suddenly three rollercoaster simulation games heading to PC in a matter of months. Why now? And will they all survive? Christopher Dring asks the people that are making them
hen 2013’s SimCity came out, it was broken. It didn’t work. The servers fell over and the critics and fans did what they do when a game doesn’t work: they crucified it. Even when the game did get up-and-running, eventually, there were a few dissatisfied customers. The game’s developer had in some ways simplified SimCity, made it prettier but also a bit easier to manage so that it can appeal to a broader market. Hardcore fans used the words ‘dumbed down’. Then in 2015, a tiny development studio called Colossal Order made Cities: Skylines – a full-scale rival to SimCity. This team had no interest in broader markets, so it made a full, hardcore city simulation game. Critics loved it. 2m people bought it. Cities: Skylines was an eyeopener. Not only did it prove that the perceived dead simulation strategy genre was anything but, it also highlighted to the world’s publishers that you shouldn’t talk down to your customers. 12 months on and another sim strategy sub-genre is making a return: the rollercoaster tycoon game. In fact, there are three theme park-style titles on the release slate for 2016, and they’ve all been excited by Skylines’ success. “The tycoon simulation genre is back,” declares Frontier’s creative director Jonny Watts, which is working on the upcoming Planet Coaster. “You’ve got Cities Skylines, Prison Architect, Parkitect, even Rollercoaster Tycoon World, it shows there is a market for them.
May 6th 2016
From our point-of-view, it is unbelievably gratifying and exciting that this genre is back. We like coaster games, and if people are making more then it suggests the genre is back, which makes us very happy.” Sebastian Mayer, the programmer of the game Parkitect, adds: “It’s been relatively silent in the last few years - not just in the theme park management genre, but in the simulation genre in general. “It’s really cool to see that there’s been more interest in the genre recently, and especially to see games like this from somewhat smaller teams, like Cities: Skylines and Prison Architect.”
In 2014, we launched Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 on mobile. It was downloaded over 20m times, which is proof that people love this kind of game.
LIFE IS A ROLLERCOASTER Parkitect started as a reaction to the lack of decent rollercoaster tycoon games. It was funded via Kickstarter (where it raised £35,000) and is being built by just three people. “We all grew up with the Theme Park and Rollercoaster Tycoon games and there hasn’t been a game like these that we thoroughly enjoyed for 10 years or so,” explains Mayer. “Just half a year or so after we announced, we suddenly had two competitors from well-known companies. We had been waiting for a decade for a new entry in the Rollercoaster Tycoon franchise, so that was quite the surprise when their new game was announced just after we had decided to take things into our own hands. As a player, I’m very excited by this development though, and I think the renewed attention for the
Fred Chesnais, Atari
genre will benefit our own game too in the end.” He continues: “Rollercoaster Tycoon World and Planet Coaster both seem to go for a big, 3D, ‘ride your rides and design a cool looking park’ kind of game, and we’ll happily let them battle it out. We’re going more for the old-school type of business management game.” Cambridge-based Frontier Developments is the team working on Planet Coaster. It’s an outfit that has worked on multiple rollercoaster games, but they’ve usually been more simplistic console or mobile titles, with the notable exception of 2004’s Rollercoaster Tycoon 3. All of the games had been created for other publishers, such as Atari, LucasArts and Microsoft. Planet Coaster, however, is a selfpublished effort, and will be all the better for it, says Watts. “We are making a game that has the best creativity and most sophisticated management in a rollercoaster title ever,” he insists. “Some titles we worked on after Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 moved away from that a little bit. “We are now self-published and nobody is telling us not to make a tycoon game, nobody is telling us to make the tools dumbed down. We are making what we want to make.” The third game, Rollercoaster Tycoon World, launched in Early Access last month, and Atari CEO Fred Chesnais denies that the firm had previously abandoned the genre. “If you look at 2014, we released a mobile game called Rollercoaster Tycoon 4,” he reminds us. “We
ROLLERCOASTER SIMS FEATURE
Frontier is self-publishing rollercoaster sim Planet Coaster
have in excess of 20m downloads, which is, for us, proof that people love this type of game. “We’ve been selling Rollercoaster Tycoon games for 15 years now. This isn’t anything new.” SKIP THE QUEUE All three games have adopted a similar business model. Parkitect arrives this week on Early Access, which lets players buy and test the title before it is fully completed. Planet Coaster is adopting a similar model by letting customers access numerous alpha builds, so they can offer feedback. “We know how to do coasters, we really do,” boasts Watts. “I’ve made more coaster games than anybody in the world. However, our simulation is so pure and is based on first principles, if it says there is 1,000 people in the park, there is 1,000 people in the park, and they have to physically get to that ride and put money in to the pot. There’s no lightweight simulation going on the background. Therefore, to
I’m not, so you have to love your job, right? The good thing today is that you can fix the game and add to it. It’s not the same as the days when you released the box version and hoped for the best.”
get the balancing right we need thousand of people’s help. We are not leaving this to chance. “It is also a lovely opportunity for us to listen to our customers and fans. We are hoping we are in tune with them because we are mad coaster enthusiasts. It’s an inclusive way of developing a game.” However, it can also backfire. Rollercoaster Tycoon World has had a troubled development. Fans were expecting it to arrive at the end of last year fully finished, but instead it emerged in Early Access just a few weeks ago, and was not in a fit state. The backlash was fierce. Atari and dev Nvizzio have been fighting to rescue the game, with a series of major updates to improve the title’s visuals and gameplay. “This really is why the game is in Early Access,” says Chesnais. “We do read what people are writing. We look at it and work out what we need to work on. We do read all the reviews. We do care. “You’re right, it’s not fun to read. Especially as a developer, which
We are self-publishing Planet Coaster. No-one is telling us to dumb it down – we are making the game we want to make. Jonny Watts, Frontier Developments
OVER CAPACITY So here’s the ultimate question, even if Cities: Skylines proved there is a big market for these titles, is there really room for three rollercoaster games? “You’ve always had Battlefront and Call of Duty in shooters, so genres can have more than one game in it,” defends Watts. “What is quite interesting is that you guys think there is a rivalry, but we like each other. We are developers making coaster games, and if you are making coaster games, you are not a mean spirited person. [All these games] justify that the time is right and that there has been an absence of proper Tycoon games for ten years. It is a beautiful world in which to make games.”
May 6th 2016
THE STORY OF WIPEOUT
Wipeout Pygnosis’ Wipeout was a major release that helped make games cool and shift millions of PlayStations. And it began with a man playing Mario Kart whilst listening to electronic dance act Orbital . Alex Calvin looks back to 1995
ike many great ideas, Wipeout began at the pub. Developer Nick Burcombe was drinking with Jim Bowers, his colleague from Liverpool-based studio Psygnosis, at Oxton’s The Shrewsbury Arms. A dev kit for Sony’s first PlayStation console had recently arrived at the office, and the duo was trying to think about how to make the most of the new tech. “I had recently finished Mario Kart on SNES and I had been playing it for about eight hours trying to beat the 150cc league,” Burcombe remembers. “I couldn’t do it until I turned the music down and put my own tunes on – I was listening to rave and dance tracks. It gave me this level of concentration and I beat it. It was just a moment of gameplay where I was like: ‘wow, we should recreate that somehow’. I was trying to explain this to Jimmy at the time in the pub of how excited I was to have this music crescendoing with the victory.” Bowers, meanwhile, had been messing around with the 3D capabilities of the PlayStation and already designed the nowiconic Feisar racer for a video he put together. “Jim was talking about these ships he had designed and how he had these two craft dogfighting down this track and had this big loop-the-loop in it and stuff,” Burcombe says. “We went back to the office, put music from The Prodigy over it and it just worked in an amazing way. Everyone looked at it and said: ‘This is something special’. From there on in, we knew what we wanted to make. It needed to look like Jimmy’s movie, but we didn’t know what the game was, or what the rules were yet.” Shortly after this, Psygnosis was asked to produce a sequence of gameplay for the 1995 film Hackers. “It was a good place to experiment. We were briefed that the film had two kids who were playing against each other in an arcadestyle environment. It was a good place for Jimmy to stretch his legs and experiment with some ideas,” Burcombe says. “There were these pop-up walls and targets to shoot at to open routes in the gameplay footage.
May 6th 2016
Wipeout was one of the original PlayStation’s launch titles in America and Europe
We discovered doing that that it wasn’t good for the racing side of the game, it wasn’t really conducive to have all these things blocking you. So Hackers helped solidify what this game should be and how it should be as a futuristic racing game with combat and weapons. That’s where it really came from. It was going to be fast, it was going to have dance music and it was going to have Jimmy’s designs.”
There were not mixed messages about anything with Wipeout. This was a cool, nightclub racing game. Nick Burcombe, former Psygnosis/Sony Liverpool
MADE IN LIVERPOOL In retrospect, it’s possible to look back at Wipeout and assume that Psygnosis was cynically attempting to cash in on the dance music cultural zeitgest of the time. But Burcombe insists that this wasn’t the case. “Wipeout was who we were, what we were into graphic design-wise, music-wise, gaming-wise,” Burcombe explains. “It all rolled into one moment. The synchronicity between what the dev team was making and how it was presented from a marketing point of view was actually one of the tightest I have ever; everybody was on the same page. It felt like it had a life of its own. It was just a clear direction that everyone understood. There were no mixed messages about anything, this was a cool nightclub racing game. Nobody concocted that in any
THE STORY OF WIPEOUT
Wipeout became infamous for its edgy marketing – including this ad featuring Radio 1 DJ Sara Cox from studio Designers Republic
strategic way. It was a case of: ‘Here it is, this is what Liverpool makes’. We weren’t trying to be cool. We were just putting ourselves in it.“ RACING OUT OF THE GATE Wipeout was one of the original PlayStation’s launch titles in Europe, and the console’s initial success was in part attributed to the racing title. With its edgy marketing, popular music and impressive 3D visuals, Wipeout helped make games cool. They were no longer the domain of children, but something you played after a night down the pub. “All the components like The Designers Republic’s marketing campaign (pictured above), the soundtrack [featuring Orbital, Leftfield and The Chemical Brothers), Jimmy’s visuals, and how we designed the circuits, they all came together to make it feel like a futuristic sport and something that was also entertainment,” Burcombe says. “PlayStation came along with a cool new brand and Psygnosis’ marketing department did some pretty edgy stuff with Wipeout ads. Also, PlayStation was setting new standards about who gaming was for. We’re the generation that grew up with games in our lives. I had an Atari 2600 and haven’t known a life without gaming.
The generation before us had very limited options. My age group has been part of shaping the industry into what it is today. Wipeout had a huge influence in Europe on the perception of PlayStation and how it was presented. I’m really proud that everyone at Psygnosis had a role to play in that. It was amazing that the series went on for another 18 years.” CARDS ON THE TABLE But in 2012 – after eight more Wipeout games – Sony closed Psygnosis (then called Sony Liverpool after PlayStation bought the studio in 2001). A number of studios have spun out of this – Sony’s own XDev, Firesprite (which worked on the PS4 Playroom functionality) and Burcombe’s Playrise Digital. The latter has just released its home console debut Table Top Racing: World Tour on PS4. The title is similar in many ways to Wipeout – a colourful racing game with a focus on multiplayer and weapons. “It’s a mash-up of all my favourite games really,” Burcombe says. “There’s a bit of Mario Kart in there, a bit of Micro Machines, a bit of Wipeout. The way the weapons work is different to Wipeout as there’s a lot of depth to the countering system. If you know how to use the
weapons you can be quite crafty with them. There’s much more to it. I’m really excited about launching our own IP. It’s got its own flavour, and you’ll see a lot of my games in there. This is the best of them.” And though Sony has all but retired the Wipeout brand, Burcombe says that he would be up for making another entry in the series, perhaps even taking to Kickstarter to do so. “If Table Top Racing is successful, I know I can put a team together for it as I get asked every week if we’re making a new Wipeout,” he says. “But I’d have to make that PR story work on a Kickstarter level. You’d have to find out if there’s an audience for it first. I wouldn’t go half arsed either, I wouldn’t be asking for £100,000, I’d be looking at a proper undertaking on this and make it so that players can create their own tracks and really reinvent the whole thing. You’d be looking at a serious amount of money to make it. But it’s one of those where you never say never, if there’s demand there, we’d love to meet it. I know enough people who’d make a real good job of it, but as it stands right now, without the Wipeout brand on it – which I doubt Sony is about to relinquish anytime soon – it’s kind of out of the question without Sony’s blessing.”
May 6th 2016
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OZEN DROS INTERVIEW
INDIE INTERVIEW Be Quick or Be Dead In Manual Samuel, gamers will have to remember to breathe – or else it will be the end of their character. Perfectly Paranormal’s CEO and animator Ozen Dros tells MCV about this new kind of survival game
magine a game in which your character doesn’t even know how to breathe by himself. He doesn’t know how to stand, walk, put on pants, brush his teeth or even blink. Well, meet Sam, the hero of Perfectly Paranormal’s Manual Samuel. After being hit - and killed - by a truck, Sam ends up signing a deal with Death: if he is able to control every aspect of his body – even those he generally doesn’t even think about like breathing – for 24 hours, he will live. In Manual Samuel, you will not be asked to fight demons or shoot soldiers in order to survive, but simply to take care of Sam’s bodily functions. And when you have to remember to press A to blink, X to breathe out or Y to breathe in, then being alive is not as simple as it appears.
MONKEY ISLAND MEETS QWOP This unusual idea came about when Ozen Dros, CEO and animator at Perfectly Paranormal, was playing survival-horror title Metro 2033. “There’s a riffle in the game that takes a lot of effort to reload and that’s were I got the idea because I was annoyed that I had to do a lot of stuff just to reload a riffle,” Dros explains. “I was like: ‘what’s next, do you want me to breathe and blink as well’? And then I think we just laughed at this idea before we decided to just make it a game.” At Perfectly Paranormal, Ozen Dros is supported by a team of five, all friends he went to university with in Hamar (Norway). He met Manual Samuel’s programmer, Gisle Sølvberg, during a game design class: “You could choose what you wanted to do so I was doing the animation part and Gisle was doing the coding part. We made crappy flash games together. We then got jobs as teachers and while doing that we started living together and working on Manual Samuel. And we recruited our other friends,” he tells MCV. So what began as a good laugh between friends is now a perfectly functional game that will be published by Curve Digital for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. But initially, Manual Samuel was supposed to be a PC title only. “But that’s only because we had no idea how to port stuff to Xbox and PlayStation,” Dros reveals.
Ozen Dros says Manual Samuel was supposed to be a PC exclusive until Curve offered to port it to PS4 and Xbox One
If it wasn’t for Curve, we would still be messing around with the first level. If it wasn’t for them, the game would look like crap. Ozen Dros, Perfectly Paranormal
He adds that they first decided to partner with Curve because “they are very nice” but mostly because he did not know how to self-publish Manual Samuel. “We were just going to release it on Steam because we know how to make computer games. And they were like: ‘we can port it to Xbox and PlayStation for you’ and we were like ‘that sounds cool, let’s do it’,” he laughs. He then adds more seriously: “We then realised it was much more than just that, because they have been also helping us with quality, testing and finding bugs. We’re making a cool game but we’re terrible human beings, we’re not good at
doing stuff in time. So they helped us make a plan and follow it. And if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have done that and we would still be messing around with the first level, telling people that the game will be out in 16 years. If it wasn’t for Curve, the game would look like crap.” Manual Samuel certainly doesn’t look like crap: the title has been well received by the early critics and has been described as a mix between Monkey Island, QWOP and even Octodad. “Our philosophy was that our game should have unique gameplay. I know it’s such a cliché thing to say, but we really wanted to put in some new kind of way of playing,” Dros says. “At the beginning, it was just about him doing everything manually, essentially just walking, breathing and blinking, but then we put in all those extra things that you have to do.” And all these things to do – from drinking coffee to emptying your bladder – will also be achievable in co-op. “In local multiplayer, you get five bodily functions, each one being assigned to a player,” Dros explains. “The reason we have local multiplayer is because we’ve shown the game to a lot of people and we keep seeing people trying to play on the same controller.” It seems that Manual Samuel has everything it needs to be the world’s most unusual party game.
May 6th 2016
SHELF LIFE Andy Forde from Louth Electronics tells MCV about the disappointing performance of Quantum Break, discusses Nintendo’s future and speaks about the importance of social networks to promote his business What challenges are you facing? Retail business is always a challenge. I very rarely pay for advertising but you have to promote your business a lot on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is massive for us, it works so well. You have to get yourself out there, you have to be pro-active, you can’t just sit and wait for people to come in.
How has your business been performing lately? Steady. It’s the normal thing now though. You get periods when it’s really good, then it gets a bit quieter. But because I do a mixed bag games, computers, phones, repairs - they sort of bounce oﬀ each other. The games side of things is quiet at the moment because of the time of the year. We’ve got things like Uncharted coming, but it’s that sort of period during which games are not massive.
What games have been selling particularly well recently? Ratchet & Clank did well for us, as well as The Division. Heavy Rain & Beyond Two Souls has done better than I thought. But I was disappointed a little bit by Quantum Break on Xbox One. It did not do well at all. It’s got mixed reviews and a lot of customers I’ve been speaking to said that there were too many cut scenes in it so they did not want to play it.
PRICE CHECK: DOVER
What games are you looking forward to this year? First and foremost, I’m really looking
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May 6th 2016
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Louth Electronics 18 Queen Street, Louth, Lincolnshire, LN11 9AU
Phone: 01507 603 189 Website: www.louthelectronics.net Email: enquiries@ louthelectronics.co.uk Facebook: /LouthElectronics Twitter: @LthElectronics
forward to Uncharted 4. And then there are other things like LEGO Star Wars. I think that will do well. But PSVR is certainly the most exciting thing of the year I think. What are thoughts on Nintendo’s recent announcements? We don’t get a call for Nintendo titles. I just tend to concentrate on Xbox One and PS4 because they do so well for us. When I ﬁrst started four years ago, it was a case of trying diﬀerent things and
the Wii U just did not work for us. So as far as it goes for the new Nintendo console, it just depends on what it’s going to be like. If it’s going to be like the Wii U, then it will not be great unfortunately. Do you think it’s the end for the Wii U? Possibly. It’s never been a massive seller. I think hard-core Nintendo fans will probably jump straight onto the new system, so that would cause the Wii U to end.
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May 6th 2016
FINAL FANTASY As Square Enix uncovered its multiple projects for the return of Final Fantasy, Marie Dealessandri takes this opportunity to check out the huge number of tie-in products
2016 will see the return of one of the biggest video games franchise of all time: Final Fantasy. And the least we can say is that Square Enix is taking things pretty seriously. The publisher organised an event named Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV in March, and announced a mobile game, a CGI movie, an anime series, partnerships with big brands, and, of course, the release date for Final Fantasy XV. It will launch on September 30th.
The Final Fantasy franchise has sold over 110m copies worldwide.
The series is Square Enix’s bestselling franchise. As of 2014, Final Fantasy had sold more than 110m copies over 48 titles. The number of games in the franchise is all the more impressive when you consider that Final Fantasy was not supposed to last – it is named Final Fantasy after all. As a result of this success, Square Enix has invested massively in Final Fantasy related products. Plushes, jewellery, figures, posters, books and mugs
FINAL FANTASY XV DELUXE EDITION Like every big game, Final Fantasy XV will have its own special edition. It will be presented in a unique Steelbook case, featuring artwork by the series artist: Yoshitaka Amano. It will also include a copy of the CGI movie Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV and additional digital content for the game, such as characters’ outﬁts and weapons. This deluxe edition will launch on September 30th and is already available to pre-order. SRP: £69.99 Manufacturer: Square Enix Distributor: CentreSoft Contact: 01216 253 388
FINAL FANTASY TRADING ARTS KAI - SET OF 5
THE SKY: THE ART OF FINAL FANTASY
DISTANT WORLDS III: MORE MUSIC FROM FINAL FANTASY
This set of ﬁve miniature ﬁgures is the perfect gift for every Final Fantasy fan.
In these three books, players will discover Yoshitaka Amano’s illustrations for the ﬁrst ten Final Fantasy games.
This orchestral album includes songs from Final Fantasy VI, VIII, IX, X, XII, XIII and XIV.
SRP: £21.99 Manufacturer: Trading Arts Kai Distributor: Square Enix Contact: 020 8636 3000
SRP: £60 Manufacturer: Dark Horse Distributor: Diamond Comic Distributors UK Contact: 01928 531 760
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May 6th 2016
FINAL FANTASY Sponsored by
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are only a small part of the wealth of merchandise surrounding the franchise. And the number of products available will increase as we get closer to the release of Final Fantasy XV, which has been referred to by Justin Gaffney, general manager for PAL Europe at Square Enix, as “the biggest Final Fantasy production ever made.” “Final Fantasy XV is an enormous title, and the story, characters and setting lend themselves to a world
that far outreaches just video games,” he told MCV. Of course, as Square Enix is slowly building hype around the return of the franchise, the performance of its upcoming title will be watched closely. Game director Hajime Tabata said that the publisher has an ambitious aim of selling 10m copies of Final Fantasy XV. The most successful instalment in the series so far is Final Fantasy VII, which sold 11m copies.
FINAL FANTASY BOX SET 1 & 2 These two box sets include hardcover guides for Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy IX (for the ﬁrst one) as well as Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2 (including all content in the HD Remastered versions of both games) and Final Fantasy XII (for the second one). Each box also contains three lithograph prints.
SRP: £51.99 Manufacturer: Prima Games Distributor: DK Contact: email@example.com
FINAL FANTASY VII ADVENT CHILDREN – YUFFIE KISARAGI
FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0
FINAL FANTASY THEATRHYTHM MASCOT STRAP: CACTUAR
Yuﬃe Kisaragi’s ﬁgure is holding her distinctive Cross Shuriken weapon.
Five volumes of this manga adaptation of Final Fantasy Type-0 are already available and a sixth one will be released this summer.
Cactuar is one of the most recognisable enemies in the Final Fantasy universe.
SRP: £54.99 Manufacturer: Play Arts Kai Distributor: Square Enix Contact: 020 8636 3000
SRP: £9.99 Manufacturer: Yen Press Distributor: Little, Brown Book Group Contact: 020 3122 7000
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May 6th 2016
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ADDRESS: Premises in Leamington Spa and Stratford Upon Avon.
SOUNDING SWEET is an independent recording and audio post production company that specialises in the production of sound for games. Our facilities include a state-of-the-art 7.1 surround sound dubbing suite with 2 VO/Foley rooms in Stratford upon Avon. We have also recently opened a second facility in the centre of Leamington Spa, where we have 5 additional audio edit suites. We provide the latest audio technology, both in-game and in the studio. We have a comprehensive knowledge of the latest audio middleware and we love to get busy with in-house technology. Our services include: Sound Design, Voice Recording, ADR (ISDN & Source Connect), Field Recording, Music Composition, Music Editing and Production, Audio Implementation, 7.1 Surround Sound Mixing, Trailers and Marketing Materials, Casting and Localisation. If you need to ‘listen in’ to a session, we can always ﬁnd a way to get connected. We have a ﬂexible ISDN Codec, Source Connect, Skype and the good old telephone! From supplying bespoke sound eﬀects to complete integration with your development team - we’d love to talk to you about how we can help with your next project! Recent clients include: Freestyle Games, Playground Games, Codemasters, BBC App Development, NBC Universal, FOX, DreamWorks Classics, BBC Film, BBC Television, Sky, Channel 4, Virgin Media, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Chester Zoo, British Museum, National Motor Museum, National Trust, BMW, Toyota. To get involved visit: www.soundingsweet.com
THE BUSINESS OF VIDEO ISSUE 859 FRIDAY DECEMBER
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INDIE THICK OF IT
N SHAHID AHMAD ON 10 YEARS PLAYSTATION’S DEV CHAMPIO
BESTWICK TAKES US THROUGH 25 YEARS SONY P16 ATDEBBIE OF TEAM17
UK RETAIL SPEAKS OUT 55%
believe PS4 will rule next year (above top),
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picked Uncharted 4 as their most anticipated game of 2016
INSIDER’S GUIDE AXIS
Specialism: Creative services Location: 7.1, Skypark 1, 8 Elliot Place, Glasgow, G3 8EP
Contact: W: www.axisanimation.com P: 0141 572 2802 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Scott, managing director at animation studio Axis, discusses the evolution of games trailers Tell us about your company. Axis is a UK-based animation studio providing a full range of creative services, from script writing and directing all the way to ﬁnal picture, sound design and music. Our most well known projects include the announcement trailers for Dead Island 1 and 2, work on trailers and animated content for Halo and 5, and recent trailers for League of Legends.
developments not just with our work in the games sector but also across other areas of the entertainment industry. Our visual eﬀects studio axisVFX completed the Doctor Who Christmas Special and our sister studio Flaunt is working on its ﬁrst feature length ﬁlm for Mattel. Within the games industry Axis was delighted with the reaction to our opening cinematic for Halo 5: Guardians.
What successes have you seen recently? We’ve had a lot of exciting
What are the trends aﬀecting you right now? We’ve seen developers of games
such as League of Legends and Guild Wars looking to create diﬀerent and more regular types of content from your average game trailer. Pieces of work that are to be enjoyed by the fan base more than to sign up new players. They are generally more artistic and less reliant on what the latest CGI technology is capable of and therefore don’t date. This is exciting for our artists and animators as they enjoy solving new problems and creating new looks.
TOTAL DISC REPAIR
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May 6th 2016
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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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May 6th 2016
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May 6th 2016
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CLD DISTRIBUTION Rue du Grand Champs 14 , B 5380 Fernelmont Belgium Tel: +32 81 83 02 02 Fax: +32 81 83 02 09 Email: email@example.com 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 : firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.sonymusic.com.br | www.day1e.com.br
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: email@example.com 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
WORLDWIDE CLICK ENTERTAINMENT LIMITED Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com Sales dept: firstname.lastname@example.org Purchase dept: email@example.com Purchase dept: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.gameoutlet.se
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MORE DISTRIBUTORS AUSTRALIA AFA Interactive, Bluemouth Interactive, Five Star Games, Mindscape, Namco Bandai Partners, Turn Left Distribution BENELUX CLD Distribution, Koch Media, Gameworld Distribution B.V. CANADA E One, Importel, Just4Games, Solutions 2 Go, Vidéoglobe CYPRUS Access, Gibareio, Zilos, Nortec Multimedia CZECH REPUBLIC Cenega, Conquest, Comgad, Playman, ABC Data DENMARK Bergsala, Elpa, Impulse, Koch Media, Nordisk Film Interactive, Nordic Game Supply, PAN Vision FRANCE Big Ben, Innelec, Koch Media, SDO, Sodifa GREECE Zegatron, CD Media, Namco Bandai Partners, IGE, Nortec, Enarxis, Beacon HUNGARY CNG.hu/Cenega Hungary, CTC Trading, Magnew, PlayON, Stadlbauer ICELAND Sena, Myndform, Samfilm, Ormsson INDONESIA Maxsoft, Uptron, Technosolution IRELAND MSE Group, Baumex JAPAN Ajioka, Happinet, Jesnet NORWAY Bergsala, Game Outlet, Koch Media, Nordic Game Supply, Nordisk Film, Pan Vision POLAND CD Projekt, Cenega, Galapagos, LEM PORTUGAL Ecoplay, Infocapital, Koch Media, Namco Bandai ROMANIA Best Distribution SERBIA ComTrade, Computerland/Iris Mega, Extreme CC SPAIN Digital Bros, Koch Media, Namco Bandai Partners, Nobilis SWEDEN Bergsala, Koch Media, Namco Bandai, Nordic Game Supply, PAN Vision, Wendros, Ztorm (digital) UAE Red Entertainment Distribution, Pluto Games (LS2 Pluto), Viva Entertainment, Gameplay Entertainment, Geekay Distribution
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May 6th 2016
INTERNATIONAL FACTFILE: AUSTRALIA Population: 23,630,000 Capital City: Canberra Currency: Australian Dollar GDP (Per Capita): $65,600.5 KEY RETAILERS EB Games, JB Hi-Fi, Big W, Target, Harvey Norman, The Gamesmen TOP DISTRIBUTORS Bandai Namco, All Interactive, Home Entertainment Suppliers, Turn Left, QV Software, Five Star Games, Mindscape Asia Paciﬁc, 18Point2
THE Australian games industry has been driven by digital sales recently, especially last year as they grew 27 per cent compared to 2014. Digital sales reached $1.589bn (£1.08bn) according to the latest study published by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association. Digital trades even outperformed traditional retail for the first time in 2015. Physical sales, however, slightly increased by two per cent yearon-year to $1.243bn (£0.85bn). Overall, Australia’s industry was up 15 per cent in 2015, reaching $2.83bn (£1.93bn). CEO of IGEA Ron Curry said in this study: “The current generation of consoles has been adopted rapidly by Australians, highlighting that gaming culture has become well and truly mainstream in the intervening years.” Consoles lead the Australian market, with hardware sales increasing by nine per cent in volume last year and software growing by 13 per cent in revenue.
May 6th 2016
TOP DEVELOPERS Firemonkeys, Halfbrick Studios, Big Ant Studios, Hipster Whale, Deﬁant Development, Pretty Great Games, The Voxel Agents PUBLISHERS IN THE REGION Rockstar, Riot, Bethesda, Bandai Namco, Nintendo, EA, Ubisoft, Microsoft, Sony, Activision-Blizzard, 2K Games, Tru Blu Entertainment, Wargaming
PS4 is the dominant platform, accounting for 59 per cent of the market value. PlayStation 4 is the dominant platform in the country, accounting for 59 per cent of total current generation console units as well as 59 per cent of the market value. Regarding software, PS4 games are outselling Xbox One titles by 82 per cent in value and 84 per cent in units. According to Newzoo, Australia and its 12.1 million gamers is the 14th largest games market in the world. 55 per cent of these players spend money on games, which is above average for the Asia–Pacific region. The amount they spend per year is also well above the regional standard, with an average of $175.71.
MEANWHILE IN... THE UNITED STATES The American branch of Nintendo is selling its majority stake in Seattle baseball team the Mariners to minority owner John Stanton NINTENDO of America is to sell its majority stake in baseball team the Mariners, the Seattle Times reports. The American branch of the platform holder has owned the Seattle team for the past 24 years. The ﬁrm’s then president Hiroshi Yamauchi purchased a majority stake in 1992 for $125m. Nintendo’s holdings are being sold to a group led by minority owner John Stanton, who will replace the current CEO, Howard Lincoln. Nintendo will retain a 10 per cent stake in the Mariners. Stanton commented: “My goal and the goal of the
entire Mariners ownership and management team is to win a World Series. I believe that the Mariners are well positioned to achieve that goal and it will be my honor to lead the organisation.
“I want to thank Howard for his leadership for the last 17 years and thank the members of the board and ownership for giving me this opportunity.”
May 6th 2016
OFF THE RECORD
OFF THE RECORD In case you’re still wondering what your perfect games industry job is, Sharkbomb made a very convenient graph this week. And if you ﬁnd out that this career is right for you, you may be lucky enough to end up like BioWare Edmonton devs, who spend their free time taking care of geese
CAREER ADVICE INDIE game developer Sharkbomb has dropped a colossal truth-bomb on the games industry by invalidating the work of careers advisors across the globe with what is the single best career guidance document we’ve ever seen. We’re not even upset about it being mean about games journalists.
May 6th 2016
OFF THE RECORD GOLDEN GOOSE APPARENTLY it is not uncommon for geese to take up temporary residence in the grounds of BioWare Edmonton. You may have already been aware of this, but we most certainly were not. Last week a pair of travelling Canucks, called Ganders and Arshonk, set up shop atop of the BioWare hotel. The developer cunningly established a Goose Cam to keep an eye on things. Furthermore, it overlaid the live stream with dramatic tracks from its many RPG series. At Newbay we currently have some ants in the kitchen, but that doesn’t make for very compelling reading. Former Spurs midﬁelder David Bentley did once park his Range Rover in our car park, but we’re not sure that counts as wildlife? One of the MCV team did throw a pork pie at it out of the top ﬂoor window, though. It hit the bonnet. He would have seen his remains when he came back to the car. A good day.
WOULD YOU RATHER FIGHT ONE HORSE-SIZED DUCK OR 100 DUCK-SIZED HORSES?
Jon Radoﬀ CEO, Disruptor Beam “One horse-sized duck. I think ducks are pretty stupid, so I’d take it down. I wouldn’t want a bunch of horses nipping at me – that sounds deadly.”
TUTTI FRUITTI ON that subject, we only threw a pork pie because we were out of fruit. Fruit deﬁnitely would have been our ﬁrst choice. Have you ever thrown fruit? Hurled a satsuma? Chucked a kiwi? Tossed a plum? Flicked a grape? There’s something immensely satisfying about throwing fruit. Or veg. Small potatoes, tomatoes, sprouts, even onions. God, we love it. So given the chance, we’d kill for the chance to swing a sword at tossed fruit and veg. In his second homage to Fruit Ninja, Scott Winn has released another video where he replicates the fruit-slashing action in real life. This time there’s a ﬂaming sword, too. Of particular satisfaction is the near perfect nailing of a pineapple, sliced clean in half. We could watch this all day.
May 6th 2016
OFF THE RECORD
Green Man Gaming Asks...
Only a few short weeks until E3, what are your dream announcements? #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!
Quite honestly, a new Age of Empires game would be incredible. Microsoft have a team making an RTS, apparently.
I wouldn’t mind an update on Kingdom Hearts 3 or a release date.
BEFORE ANYONE SAYS IT, HALF LIFE 3.
WW2 themed %DWWOHȴHOG game. Needs to happen.
FF7 Crisis Core HD to go with #FF7Remake, next Tomb Raider, and anything Hideo Kojima is working on.
DRAGON AGE 4! And The Elder Scrolls 6! But never gonna be this year :’(
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