FOR THE GAMERS ISSUE 890 FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 2ND 2016
EA’S CMO CHRIS BRUZZO ON PUTTING PLAYERS FIRST P12
Team17 scores £16.5m investment deal UK label acquires The Escapists franchise by Christopher Dring PRIVATE equity ﬁrm Lloyds Development Capital has invested £16.5m in Team17. The UK label has already spent some of the ﬁnance by acquiring The Escapists franchise and its developer Mouldy Toof Studios. The Escapists (and a Walking Dead-based spin-oﬀ) was released last year with the help of Team17, shifting 1.8m units and generating almost £14m. Team17 says the investment will help speed up its eﬀorts in becoming a global player, with more potential acquisitions on the cards. LDC, which is part of Lloyds Banking Group, has taken a
minority stake in the company, and may oﬀer more funding and support should the need arise. “This investment allows us to accelerate our plans for growth more easily and without impacting on any areas of the current business,” Team17 CEO Debbie Bestwick. “It was not a decision that was taken lightly as we pride ourselves on being independent. LDC is a minority partner and having an investor which is based in the same country is equally important. “LDC shares our vision and understands the importance of people and the way our incubation program and our business models work. I believe it’s fair to say that we have the same common goals
Worms creator eyes global expansion
This investment allows us to accelerate our plans for growth. Debbie Bestwick, Team17
about creating successful IP and supporting new and established studios to become sustainable businesses that will become long-term partners with Team17.” She added: “This allows us to expedite our growth on an international level.” LDC Yorkshire and North East boss John Garner added: “Team17 exempliﬁes the best of the UK gaming industry, and its unique business model and continued focus on innovative product development has seen Debbie and her management team build an extremely successful company.” Turn to page 16 for MCV’s full exclusive interview with Debbie Bestwick.
PLUS ENDEMOL’S GAMES PUSH WE MEET THE MAKERS OF BLACKWOOD CROSSING
‘We want indie retailers,’ says Oculus Rift But bigger stores might have more luck with in-store VR demos, admits head of content Jason Rubin by Alex Calvin OCULUS has vowed to support indie retailers with the upcoming launch of its VR headset. Speaking to MCV, the ﬁrm’s head of content Jason Rubin said Oculus is committed to supporting all retailers – not just the big ones such as GAME, Tesco and Amazon. However, he concedes, the bigger outlets may have more luck in terms of showing oﬀ the hardware. “We’re more than happy to support indie retail,” Rubin said. “We’re a company that four years ago was just one person, so we have a lot of aﬃnity with those guys. “We need to be careful. We got a little bit ahead of ourselves at launch (in terms of available stock), so we’re being very careful to not make promises we can’t keep. The worst thing would be
Oculus wants to support indie retailers with its Rift headset, Rubin says
to tell an indie store they can sell a product and not be able to ship them enough stock because we underestimated the demand from big retailers. In the long run, we want to support everyone.” He continued: “For a long time, you are going to see VR demos be a big part of the retail experience.
In the long run, we want to support everyone. Jason Rubin, Oculus
Retailers are extremely eager to do them. Some of the smaller stores are frustrated because if you have a small footprint, it’s hard for them to clear enough space. It really does help to be a big store where you have a huge amount of space so you can do demos.” Oculus Rift will be launching at UK physical retail on Tuesday, September 20th.
Insert Coin plots more shops following Pokémon store success by Marie Dealessandri INSERT COIN plans to do more pop-up stores following the launch of its Pokémon-themed outlet over the weekend. The store was open for six days, and sold Pokémon Insert Coin clothing and memorabilia. “The store has been a huge success and Pokémon fans have loved it,” commented Insert Coin’s comms boss Dan Long. “We’re looking to do more popup stores in the future. We already have a few thoughts on what do next, and are starting to get excited about how we can bring unique experiences to gamers.” The Pokémon clothing range will be made available on the Insert Coin website later this year.
September 2nd 2016
Rogue distributor spoils PlayStation 4 Slim surprise by Christopher Dring THE PS4 Slim has gone on sale weeks before it was due to be announced after stock was secured from abroad. Stock of the new model came from the UAE, which was holding units of the updated hardware ahead of its expected reveal next week. Sony has recently invested signiﬁcantly in the Middle East as it looks to grow its presence in emerging territories. A small quantity of units made its way to the UK and was then distributed amongst indie stores and eBay sellers, before making
its way onto shelves at secondhand retail specialist CEX. Sony would not comment on the leak, although it has yet to oﬃcially announce the hardware. The ﬁrm has a press conference planned for September 7th. “You have to feel sorry for PlayStation, because it’s all descended into an absolute farce,” said one leading retail buyer. Another added: “We didn’t even realise this was coming out until it was available to buy online. We’ve seen early selling before, but nothing quite like this.”
TEAM17 SUCCESS IS A BOOST FOR BRITAIN IT’S been a surprisingly good few weeks when it comes to investment into the UK games industry. Just a few weeks ago, investors dared to suggest to MCV that Brexit - for all the uncertainty - will probably not hurt the UK games scene as much as we feared. Perhaps they were right. There’s been major interest from China, with big money changing hands for UK studios Splash Damage and Jagex. Endemol has invested in the scene with its dedicated games unit and, this week, Team17 has secured a hefty chunk of ﬁnance, too. There’s also other promising developments, which we can’t wait to talk about. Team17 is an interesting one. Just ﬁve years ago this was a company that had spent much of its life creating (admittedly pretty good) Worms games. It still does, in fact, with this week’s (also pretty good) Worms WMD. We are quite fond of the work Team17 has done. CEO Debbie Bestwick has emerged as one of the UK’s most inﬂuential leaders - it’s why she’s picked up so many awards over the past 18 months. And her company may be renown for creating one of video games’ silliest franchises, but it takes its job of looking after ﬂedgling indie developers extremely seriously. It’s not been all plain sailing, not everything has gone to plan (we still don’t really know what went wrong with its dropped horror game Allison
PS4 Slims are already available on eBay and at secondhand specialist CEX
PRE-ORDER TOP 10
FIFA 17 (PS4)
PES 2017 (PS4)
FIFA 17 (XO)
Battleﬁeld 1 (PS4)
Maﬁa III: Family Kick-back Pre-order Bonus (PS4)
BioShock: The Collection (PS4)
Xbox One Console S 1TB + FIFA 17
Battleﬁeld 1 (XO)
Forza Horizon 3 (XO)
NBA 2K17 inc. Early Tip-Oﬀ and in-game digital content (PS4)
Microsoft EA Microsoft 2K
Britain’s publishing presence on the global games scene pretty much vanished the day Square Enix acquired Eidos. Road), but Team17’s The Escapists, Overcooked and Yooka-Laylee are already some of the market’s most talked about indie titles. The next step for Team17 will be to ﬁnd more Yooka-Laylees, a job made a little tricker when massive games businesses like Take-Two, GameStop and EA are muscling into the space. That’s one of the reasons why this investment is so important. The UK games industry has a great presence globally when it comes to development, whether it’s through Grand Theft Auto V, No Man’s Sky or the LEGO games. Yet most of these games are either published or funded by big international companies. Britain’s publishing presence on the global games scene pretty much vanished the day Square Enix acquired Eidos. Debbie was understandably coy about the idea of becoming the new Eidos - Team17 just isn’t that sort of company, she tells us. Yet if it can do what it hopes, and attract bigger international partners, then it will be another step forward for the British games scene. email@example.com
September 2nd 2016
Sega Europe: Shenmue 1 and 2 remakes have our full attention But the fan favourite Dreamcast RPGs are yet to be green-lit due licensing concerns, says Euro head by Christopher Dring REMAKES of Shenmue 1 and 2 are still being actively discussed within Sega. The publisher told fans in May that it was trying to ﬁnd a way to return the classic Dreamcast RPGs, which were ﬁrst released in 2000 and 2001. European boss Jurgen Post told MCV this week that although there is still no green light on the project, the company is eager to make it happen. “There is deﬁnitely a desire [to go back to our classic games],” Post said. “Even online, people are constantly talking about products they would like to see come
back, and Shenmue 1 and 2 are probably in the top two places. We are looking into it. It is an old IP, it is a beloved IP – and not just by consumers, but also within Sega,
“The issue is that it is a big game. It is a project from many years ago. If we are to do it, we’d want to do a fantastic conversion to the current platforms, and there are a lot of licences in the game, which were cleared many years ago, so we will need to renegotiate those contracts. We are looking into it. We haven’t given it a green light, but it has our full attention.” Shenmue III, which is due late next year, was funded via Kickstarter and raised $6.3m (£4.8m) making it the most successful video game Kickstarter project ever.
We want to do a fantastic conversion of Shenmue 1 and 2 for the new machines. Jurgen Post, Sega Europe
we have people saying that if we could do Shenmue 1 and 2 all over again, we’d deﬁnitely go for it.
Pokémon Go breaks five world records
‘YouTubers have same appeal as rockstars and A-list actors’ by Alex Calvin LEGENDS of Gaming Live organiser Endemol says that YouTubers have the same draw as rockstars or big name ﬁlm actors. Its comments come as the YouTube star DanTDM has sold out his ﬁrst 12-venue UK tour. He will also join a number of other personalities at Legends of Gaming Live later this month. “DanTDM is a legend of gaming in every sense of the word,”
September 2nd 2016
Sega’s Post says Shenmue 1 and 2 remakes are wanted by people in and outside of Sega
by Alex Calvin SINCE its launch in July, mobile smash hit Pokémon Go has set a number of world records. That’s according to Guinness World Records, with research courtesy of SuperData. The duo report that Pokémon Go grossed the most revenue of a mobile game in its ﬁrst month, generating a huge $206.5m. It was downloaded 130m times, making it the most-downloaded mobile game in its ﬁrst month. Pokémon Go was also at the top of the most charts internationally. In terms of downloads, the title was No.1 in 70 diﬀerent countries at the same time. Meanwhile, it was also the highest-grossing mobile game in 55 countries simultaneously.
said event director Thomas Greenwood-Mears (pictured). “YouTube personalities are the equivalent of the rockstars or movie heroes of the previous generation. We’re pitching Legends of Gaming Live as a festival feel and are conﬁdent people will be thrilled with what we have planned. “We’re currently selling tickets at four times the speed we were last year.” Legends of Gaming Live takes place at London’s Alexandra Palace on September 10th and 11th.
And last but not least, Pokémon Go set the record for the time it took for a mobile to gross $100m. It was just 20 days before the title hit this barrier.
What’s the Catch? Endemol is launching into video games ‘properly’ with a standalone London-based developer and publisher called Good Catch. Christopher Dring asks MD Anil Mistry about why now, what’s different and what comes next for Big Brother, Mr Bean and Pointless
ndemol Shine making video games is not entirely new. The firm, famous for Masterchef, Big Brother and a whole lot more, has been making games for a long time. It’s recently developed titles based on Pointless, Mr Bean and even created its own IP, the ninja brawler Black & White Bushido. Yet the development of Good Catch, a standalone company owned by Endemol Shine, is new. “There were bits of Endemol doing apps and games but it wasn’t very cohesive,” explains Anil Mistry, the MD of the new outfit. “The idea behind Good Catch is to create a standalone game developer and publisher, and bring all those different bits together under one header. “We have been, effectively, a department within Endemol. We’ve done a few things like the Pointless Quiz app and outsourcing a lot of development. But if we want to do this properly, we need to get some investment and a bigger team.” INDEPENDENT THINKING Good Catch is a standalone entity, with the ability to use Endemol’s brands, but will also remain nimble enough to react to the everchanging video games market. “A corporate structure can be a slow moving beast, for all its advantages, we need to stay agile” says Mistry. It currently has enough staff to develop two games internally at once, but is hiring so it can expand to handle between four to five projects simultaneously. “The games will be predominantly mobile, but the idea is to build in Unity where possible,” said Mistry.
“That means we can easily do PC and console ports. Also, if we come up with an idea that we think will work better on consoles or PC, we will target that as the main platform.” So what games can we expect? “It’s about working with our global brands rather than the local ones because local ones cost the same but the revenue opportunity is only as big as the territory,” he explains. “We are trying to ignore the older Deal or No Deals and Big Brothers. They’ve still got a place in certain territories, but it’s not what we’re about, we’re about looking forward. “And it’s not just about the brands that we own. It is about creating original IP, too.” He continues: “A good game mechanic has to be at the heart of what we do. From the previous stuff that I’ve done, if you simply stamp your brand on something, it will never work.” Mistry’s dream is to make new IP that could move to TV. “Our brands are important because user acquisition is hard, and these brands gives us an edge,” he continues. “But that’s just 50 per cent of what we’re doing, the other 50 per cent is new IP. The dream would be to make a game that we can then grow beyond games. If we could make a TV show or animation series based on one of our games that would be great. We have the infrastructure around us to do that.” The short-term aim for Good Catch is to find talent and a head
It’s not just about the brands we own. It is about creating original IP, too. Anil Mistry, Endemol Shine
of development. But Mistry has bold ambitions for the long term. “We need to find the right people to hire,” he says. “In three or four years time, if we are still a viable entity, I’d like to move into publishing. We don’t have the structure to support that yet. We are being treated like a start-up and acting like one. Although Endemol Shine is our VC - effectively - we have to run ourselves.”
September 2nd 2016
UP & DOWN
Market Data New releases and promotions help software revenue rise by 39 per cent last week
F1 2016 falls one place to No.2 with sales dipping 57 per cent week-on-week
£8.2m 253,432 units
£9.5m 269,814 units £5.9m 188,953 units
Week Ending August 13th
Week Ending August 20th
SALES OF Blizzard’s shooter Overwatch rose by 68 per cent last week
Week Ending August 27th
EVENT CALENDAR SEPTEMBER 2016 ........................................................................... EUROPEAN WOMEN IN GAMES CONFERENCE University of Greenwich, London Wednesday, September 7th Q The sixth edition of the European Women in Games Conference takes place at University of Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College Q Over 40 speakers will be delivering keynotes, panel discussions and workshops on subjects including careers, eSports and BAME diversity LEGENDS OF GAMING LIVE 2016 Alexandra Palace, London Saturday, September 10th – Sunday, September 11th Q For two days next month, fans will be meeting the stars of YouTube. Almost 20,000 gamers are expected to be in attendance Q YouTube personalities such as Ali-A, DanTDM, Spencer FC and LDShadowLady will be at the show Q Organiser Endemol says that tickets for this year’s show are being sold four times faster than 2015’s event
September 2nd 2016
EGX NEC, Birmingham Thursday, September 22nd – Sunday, September 25th Q EGX returns for its second year at NEC Birmingham Q This year’s expo features panel discussions, a career fair, a cosplay stage, retro and board game ones, and merchandise to purchase
OCTOBER 2016 ........................................................................... PLAY EXPO EventCity. Manchester Saturday, October 8th – Sunday, October 9th Q Play Expo returns for its ﬁfth year at Manchester’s EventCity exhibition centre APPS WORLD ExCel, London Wednesday, October 19th – Thursday, October 20th Q Europe’s largest gathering of developers, mobile and marketing professionals is taking place next month Q Representatives from Microsoft, Facebook and Time Inc will be speaking at the show
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
NO MAN’S SKY REFUND DRAMA
Consumers unhappy with Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky are having their refund requests for the Steam version accepted well beyond the normal threshold of a refund, which is usually two hour’s of play time or two weeks of ownership. This has raised questions about whether it is fair to request a refund for a game after playing it for a long time.
Apple may face a £11.1bn tax bill after the European Commission ruled that its tax arrangement with Ireland was illegal
@ukieluke Re: No Man’s Sky refund madness. Steam Spy suggests that the number of ‘owners’ dropped by 6,756 between 22nd/28th, or about nine per cent of the player base. Luke Hebblethwaite, UKIE Tuesday, August 30th
@BabyGotBell This No Man’s Sky stuﬀ is actually quite interesting if you think about how refunds are handled for physical goods in retail.
Alice Bell, Videogamer Monday, August 29th
CEX IS SELLING PLAYSTATION 4 SLIMS
OYSTERWORLD ENTERS ADMINISTRATION
Sony is yet to oﬃcially acknowledge PS4 Slim’s existence, but second hand retailer CEX has been selling the machine. In a now-removed listing on its site, the ﬁrm was charging £380 for the console.
Welsh casual games ﬁrm OysterWorld has fallen into administration. It is reported that 50 people stand to lose their jobs. Administrators Kreston Reeves say the company owes £2m.
@RichStanton Always surprised me that CEX is somehow able to skirt around the handling of stolen goods act. The business is a fence, everyone knows it. Rich Stanton, freelance journalist Friday, August 26th
@R_Hebblewhite Terrible news for Wales. Hoping all the staﬀ ﬁnd new work quickly.
@ODDERZinnit We’re all calling CEX a bunch of dodgy pricks today but be honest: If you owned an independent game store, would you do it diﬀerently? Dave Aubrey, freelance journalist Friday, August 26th
@SpyroManiac800 It’s so sad that OysterWorld legacy will be dodgy funding and the Welsh goverment funding mess instead of a project we lovingly made for two-plus years Sian Bailey, former-Oysterworld Thursday, August 25th
Richard Hebblewhite, Glyndŵr University Thursday, August 25th
Pokémon Go last lost around 15m daily users since the game’s peak. This represents a 35 per cent decline
2 Two-factor veriﬁcation has come to PSN. Users signed up will receive a text message code when a new login is attempted
£250,000 GamesGrabr parent company Grabr has launched a £250,000 funding push
£35.2m Nintendo has purchased distribution network JESNET for £35.2m ahead of the launch of its new NX console AG Prismatic Controller - PDP Design and manufacture the Afterglow Prismatic Controller for Xbox ONE Oﬃcially licensed by Microsoft firstname.lastname@example.org
GAMESAID THIS WEEK .................................................... PLAY YOUR PART BECOME A MEMBER AMBASSADOR TRUSTEE WWW.GAMESAID.ORG
GAMESAID GOLF DAY RAISES £30,OOO
GAMESCOM TO BRIGHTON CYCLE RIDE
GAMESAID CHEQUE GIVING 2016
The annual GamesAid Golf and Spa Day returned for the ninth time on Thursday, July 14th. The event raised a whopping £30,000. This year it was once again held at The Grove in Watford.
A number of GamesAid members cycled 352 miles from Cologne to Brighton for charity, raising £3,430 in the process. You can still donate here www. justgiving.com/teams/ gamescomtobrighton2016
On September 15th at London’s Warner House, GamesAid will announce which charities will receive funding this year. Last year, GamesAid raised £564,000, which was donated to eight diﬀerent organisations.
September 2nd 2016
GAME appoints new COO Lister joins as Knight departsOElliott sets up PlayStack OGood Catch appoints Mistry as MD GAME | The retail giant has hired GUY LISTER (pictured above left) as its new COO. He will oversee all the UK retail operations. Lister is a newcomer in the games industry, as he joins from Office Shoes, where he was chief customer and marketing officer. Before that, he held senior positions at New Look, River Island and Marks & Spencer. Meanwhile, UK retail MD CHARLOTTE KNIGHT (pictured top right) has announced she will be leaving GAME in January 2017 after 17 years at the company. CEO Martyn Gibbs said: “Guy has the experience to lead the
September 2nd 2016
PlayStack, which he created. Formerly director of the BAFTA Board of Trustees and Chair of BAFTA Games Committee, Elliott also worked for over three years as CEO of Marmalade Technologies and held various exec positions at EA and Acclaim. Elliott commented: “I’ve been in the industry my entire career, either making games or making tech for games. That’s why I wanted to be a publisher, because I know how I would have liked a publisher to behave. “I want to redefine what publishing means to people. As a developer, you want to be supported, you want to be funded. My job is to provide that, get developers backed, and get their games right.”
continued development of our UK multi-channel offer and drive forward a key pillar of our future growth strategy. I’m delighted to welcome him to the team.” He added: “Charlotte has been a stalwart of GAME for 17 years with a distinguished career and has been a part of my leadership team for the past four years, making a huge contribution to the business during this time. We will be sorry to see her go and we wish her the greatest success in her future career.” PLAYSTACK | Industry veteran HARVEY ELLIOTT is the CEO of new UK publisher
GOOD CATCH | Endemol’s brand new video games studio and publishing label has appointed ANIL MISTRY as managing director. He was previously Endemol Shine UK’s head of apps and games for over two years. Before that, he spent eight years as head of product development at Endemol Games. Mistry stated: “This is an exciting opportunity to build an engaging portfolio of games across all platforms with well known global brands and new games IP. Endemol Shine is a company built on creativity and coupled with technical delivery, Good Catch is well placed to turn great ideas into great games.”
P R E S E N T E D
STILL TIME TO BOOK A TABLE
The Golden Joystick Awards are BACK and will be broadcast live online
THE ONLY GAMING AWARDS VOTED FOR BY GAMERS
Friday 18th November 2016 A table for 12 people is just £4,320 which includes: – Champagne reception – Three course meal – Awards ceremony – Entry to awards afterparty at Brooklyn Bowl within the O2
34TH GOLDEN JOYSTICK AWARDS
M E D I A
PA R T N E R S
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WEEKLY SALES CHARTS
WEEKLY CHARTS DEUS EX: MANKIND DIVIDED has taken the top spot this week. The latest entry in the franchise has weaker launch sales than its predecessor, 2011’s Human Revolution. Codemasters’ F1 2016, which was No.1 last week, is now No.2 with sales dropping 57 per cent, and Sony’s No Man’s Sky falls to No.3 with sales decreasing 48 per cent. The rest of the Top Ten is packed with new releases this week. EA’s Madden NFL 17 debuts at No.5, 505 Games’ Assetto Corsa enters the charts at No.8 and Koei Tecmo’s A.O.T. Wings of Freedom takes the tenth place. Outside of the Top Ten, the latest entry
in Team17’s Worms franchise debuts at No.39. The most impressive performance of the week is claimed by Microsoft’s Quantum Break, which, thanks to hardware bundle promotions, comes back in the charts at No.16, with sales increasing 623 per cent. Meanwhile on Steam, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided also takes the top spot, followed by No Man’s Sky. Over on mobile, Niantic’s Pokémon Go seems to weaken, with Ketchapp Summer Sports the new No.1 in the free iPhone games charts. Devolver Digital’s Reigns has taken the top spot on the iPhone paid games listings.
GLOBAL STEAM CHARTS (UNITS)
01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
LW 01 02 RE RE 06 04 RE NEW NEW
DEUS EX: MANKIND DIVIDED DEVELOPER: EIDOS MONTREAL PUBLISHER: SQUARE ENIX
TITLE No Man’s Sky Grand Theft Auto V The Witcher III: Wild Hunt Dark Souls III Dead by Daylight Counter-Strike: Global Oﬀensive The Witcher III: Wild Hunt + Expansion Pack Deus Ex: Mankind Divided - Season Pass A.O.T. Wings of Freedom
PUBLISHER Hello Games Rockstar CD Projekt Red Bandai Namco Starbreeze Valve CD Projekt Red Square Enix Koei Tecmo
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 NEW 01 02 04 NEW 08 03 NEW 05 NEW 06 07 09 11 10 RE 12 27 13 14 28 26 15 25 21 17 34 18 20 22 19 16 RE 33 24 23 RE 29 NEW 30
Title Format Publisher Deus Ex: Mankind Divided PS4, XO, PC Square Enix F1 2016 PS4, XO, PC Codemasters No Man’s Sky PS4 Sony Overwatch PS4, XO, PC Activision Blizzard Madden NFL 17 PS4, XO, PS3, 360 EA Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End PS4 Sony LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens PS4, XO, PS3, 360, 3DS, PC Warner Bros Assetto Corsa PS4, XO 505 Games Grand Theft Auto V PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Rockstar A.O.T. Wings of Freedom PS4, XO Koei Tecmo Rocket League PS4, XO 505 Games FIFA 16 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC EA Doom PS4, XO, PC Bethesda Call of Duty: Black Ops III PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Activision Blizzard Minecraft: Xbox Edition XO, 360 Microsoft Quantum Break XO, PC Microsoft LEGO Marvel’s Avengers PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, PC Warner Bros Mirror’s Edge Catalyst PS4, XO, PC EA Fallout 4 PS4, XO, PC Bethesda LEGO Jurassic World PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita, PC Warner Bros EA Sports UFC 2 PS4, XO EA Far Cry Primal PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft Star Wars Battlefront PS4, XO, PC EA Tom Clancy’s The Division PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft Minecraft: PlayStation Edition PS4, PS3, Vita Sony New Super Mario Bros. 2 3DS Nintendo Forza Motorsport 6 XO Microsoft Minecraft: Story Mode PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Telltale Games/Avanquest Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft Disney Inﬁnity 3.0 PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, PC Disney Homefront: The Revolution PS4, XO, PC Deep Silver Nintendo Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympics Wii U, 3DS Halo 5: Guardians XO Microsoft WWE 2K16 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC 2K Games Pokémon Omega Ruby 3DS Nintendo Tomodachi Life 3DS Nintendo Yo-Kai Watch 3DS Nintendo Batman: Arkham Knight PS4, XO, PC Warner Bros Worms WMD PS4, XO, PC Sold Out Heavy Rain & Beyond Two Souls Collection PS4 Sony
Source: Steam, Period: August 22nd to 28th September 2nd 2016
Source: UKIE/GfK Entertainment, Period: Week ending August 27th 10
WEEKLY SALES CHARTS
UK IPAD PAID
01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
LW 03 04 NEW RE RE NEW RE 02 10
UK IPHONE PAID
MINECRAFT: POCKET EDITION DEVELOPER: MOJANG
Title Reigns Football Manager Mobile 2016 Grim Tales: The Heir Athletics 2: Summer Sports Summer Games 3D Punished Talents: Stolen Awards HD Plague Inc. Minecraft: Story Mode Geometry Dash
TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
Developer Devolver Digital Sega Big Fish Tangram3D Tangram3D Big Fish Ndemic Creations Telltale RobTop Games
LW 01 04 02 04 RE 08 07 06 09
Source: UKIE/Reﬂ ection, Period: August 15th to August 21st
REIGNS DEVELOPER: DEVOLVER DIGITAL
Title Minecraft: Pocket Edition Football Manager Mobile 2016 Heads Up! Plague Inc. Athletics 2: Summer Sports Monopoly Game Bloons TD 5 Geometry Dash Hitman: Sniper
Source: UKIE/Reﬂ ection, Period: August 15th to August 21st
UK IPAD GROSSING (REVENUE)
UK IPHONE GROSSING (REVENUE)
TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
LW 04 02 03 05 06 09 08 RE RE
CANDY CRUSH SAGA DEVELOPER: KING
Title Mobile Strike Game of War - Fire Age Candy Crush Soda Saga Clash of Clans Pokémon GO Roblox Hay Day Gummy Drop! Farm Heroes Saga
TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
Developer Epic War Machine Zone King Supercell Niantic Roblox Corporation Supercell Big Fish King
LW 03 02 04 08 05 08 09 07 RE
Source: UKIE/Reﬂ ection, Period: August 15th to August 21st
POKÉMON GO DEVELOPER: NIANTIC
Title Game of War - Fire Age Candy Crush Saga Mobile Strike Clash of Clans Candy Crush Soda Saga CSR Racing 2 8 Ball Pool Episode - Choose Your Story, feat. Mean Girls: Senior Year Clash Royale
UK IPHONE FREE (UNITS)
LW NEW 02 RE 07 05 RE 04 08 03
POKÉMON GO DEVELOPER: NIANTIC
Title Flip Diving Rio 2016 Olympic Games Zootropolis Crime Files: Hidden Object Ketchapp Summer Sports Taxi Sim 2016 Despicable Me: Minion Rush Slither.io Roblox Fit The Fat 2
TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
Developer Miniclip.com Neowiz Games Disney Ketchapp Alexandru Marusac Gameloft Steve Howse Roblox Corporation Five Bits
Source: UKIE/Reﬂ ection, Period: August 15th to August 21st www.mcvuk.com
Developer Machine Zone King Epic War Supercell King NaturalMotion Miniclip.com Episode Interactive Supercell
Source: UKIE/Reﬂ ection, Period: August 15th to August 21st
UK IPAD FREE (UNITS)
TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
Developer Mojang Sega Warner Bros Ndemic Creations Tangram3D EA Ninja Kiwi RobTop Games Square Enix
LW 01 NEW 08 03 05 RE RE 07 04
KETCHAPP SUMMER SPORTS DEVELOPER: KETCHAPP
Title Pokémon GO Flip Diving Bowmasters Fit The Fat 2 Rio 2016 Olympic Games Taxi Sim 2016 Color 6 Talking Tom Gold Run PokéAlert - Realtime Map for Pokémon GO
Developer Niantic Miniclip.com Playgendary Five Bits Neowiz Games Alexandru Marusac Tigrido Outﬁt7 Meiji Media
Source: UKIE/Reﬂ ection, Period: August 15th to August 21st 11
September 2nd 2016
INTERVIEW CHRIS BRUZZO, EA
EA: No longer the most evil company in games For the last few years, EA has been putting players at the centre of all that it does. But what seemed like a cynical marketing ploy is helping turn its public perception around. Alex Calvin speaks to CMO Chris Bruzzo to find out more
bout a year ago, MCV ran an interview with EA’s thenCOO Peter Moore. The piece talked about the firm’s ‘player first’ mantra; a way of thinking that saw the publishing giant put its fans at the centre of everything that it did. EA isn’t the first company to adopt the strategy. Xbox and Sony both talk about being ‘for the players’ and yet we couldn’t help but feel cynical about it all. They may say it’s all about making gamers happy, but surely the No.1 priority is the shareholders? But this has been a remarkably successful move for EA. Though the company isn’t immune from criticism, the level of ire it attracts has certainly decreased. “It’s going amazingly well so far,” chief marketing officer Chris Bruzzo says. “It’s a tonne of fun. It’s an entirely different way of doing marketing. Rather than hold a press conference at Gamescom, we had an event where squads of consumers were playing each other in Battlefield and Titanfall 2, and we’re streaming all over the world.” He continues: “We’re very serious about engaging with players and bringing them into the process, taking their feedback, involving them extensively across the way we make games and the way we bring them to market... that benefits us a lot. Many of the things you see, especially after a game has launched, the adjustments we make to it when we improve a game,
Bruzzo says that Titanfall 2 is Call of Duty’s biggest rival this year, not Battleﬁeld
those things are coming straight from player feedback. So yes, I do think that has had a big impact on how people feel about the games they are playing from EA.” REMEMBER YOUR ROOTS The ‘player first’ mantra came about in a moment of self reflection. EA, giant and hugely successful as it was, had become disconnected from the people that were buying its games. It was facing severe criticism and even topped ‘worst company’ polls. But the effect of putting its players first is gradually working. It no-longer tops the ‘worst company’ polls and then came the positive reception to Battlefield 1. The video announcing the game to the world is now the most-liked game trailer in YouTube’s history. “It was fantastic,” Bruzzo says. ”[SVP of EA Studios] Patrick
Engaging with players, bringing them into the process... that benefits us a lot. Chris Bruzzo, EA
Söderlund has said it was a risk to go to World War One as the setting. The really talented people at DICE decided to make a game that delivered on the things that players were asking for: they were asking for something new; different experiences with vehicles, planes, environments, with close quarters combat and massive environments. When DICE put all those things in the mix, it drew them towards an era that hadn’t really been explored yet. It was all about the desire to do something awesome because that was what players were asking for. “But I have to tell you, when we first started talking about that and we introduced the idea of a game set during the First World War to players, the reaction was: ‘Is that going to be fun? Bolt action rifles, trench warfare..’ But it was super gratifying when we finally
CHRIS BRUZZO, EA INTERVIEW
EA’s Bruzzo believes Battleﬁeld 1 may attract new fans to the FPS genre
had the chance to show the world what DICE had been putting lots of energy into and where it was taking the Battlefield series. Players were almost instantaneously really excited by it.” CLASH OF THE TITANS The positive reception is in stark contrast to the one this year’s Call of Duty received. While Battlefield 1 is the most-liked trailer on YouTube, Infinite Warfare is among the lowest. But Bruzzo says that the battle for dominance in the shooter genre is not between these two games this year. “The style of play that Call of Duty has become known for is a great fit for players who should be playing Titanfall 2,” Bruzzo said. “Honestly, the people at [developers] Respawn were one of the originators of that style of play. If you want to put games next to each other, I’d put Titanfall up against Call of Duty and ask which one is doing interesting things. “Battlefield is a whole other thing. It’s way more strategic and thoughtful. Even though they are all first-person shooters, they’re all very different. “Battlefield is going to find a big audience. The reception has been so strong. I hope we bring
LOOKING IN THE MIRROR
people in to the genre that have never played before.” Putting players at the heart of what it is doing has also influenced the way that EA gets the word out about its latest releases. Rather than having an EA press event with just the trade and industry insiders, the firm held its EA Play event at E3 and Gamescom. This saw players involved, as well as the media. With companies like EA and Nintendo speaking directly to their fans via the internet, questions are inevitably raised about the media’s role in informing consumers. But Bruzzo believes journalists still have a part to play in today’s games industry. “I think we need everyone. Everybody plays a role,” he says. “For EA to be able to engage directly with large groups of players is awesome. To engage expert players with huge social media followings: awesome. To be able to meet with the press who actually communicate for a living and can pull stories together with different perspectives and put a thoughtful piece together, also awesome. I don’t see why it has to be one way or the other.” He continues: “In marketing, brands used to be able to try and control what people heard about
THE return of Mirror’s Edge this year was a show of EA’s commitment to players. The original wasn’t a smash hit, but it was beloved by fans and a follow-up was repeatedly asked for. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, by all accounts, did not perform too well, either. But CMO Chris Bruzzo says that for a project like this, sales aren’t hugely important. “It depends on what your objective is,” Bruzzo says. “Not every game is designed to serve the huge audience that a FIFA or a Battlefield does. Mirror’s Edge was a fan favourite. It had developers who wanted to make that game. They loved the story and the challenge of doing first-person action. So in that respect, it was great and it was what we wanted it to be. It allowed our developers to do something fun like that and we served our fans. “Our expectations in terms of sales are not nearly as important as whether we made something great that fans are going to love.”
them or their products. They’d do that through push advertising. You could create a perfect piece of advertising, put it on TV and that’s what consumers would know about the game. What’s scary for some marketers, but awesome for me and the people I work with, is that now there’s this huge conversation going on about our games. There’s a massive group of people who care about FIFA and they’re different to the group that cares about Titanfall. “Instead of it being this one-way conversation it’s more multisided, everyone’s engaging from every direction so maybe you don’t feel, if you’re on the marketing side, that you’re in control. But who cares? You have this much bigger, more interesting conversation going on about your brand.” It’s hard to imagine such words being said by an exec from the EA of old. But then this is a company determined to embrace its critical audience. The challenge will be whether it can maintain this message when things aren’t going well; when the servers don’t work for a hit game or when it announces a title that isn’t instantly beloved by gamers. That will be the true test of this new EA’s character.
July 8th 2016
INTERVIEW DEBBIE BESTWICK, TEAM17
LDC makes the Team Worms creators Team17 has secured £16.5m in funding from private equity firm LDC and has acquired The Escapists franchise. Christopher Dring speaks with CEO Debbie Bestwick to find out what this means for one of the UK’s longest running games studios
What makes this deal work for Team17? We have a successful business, and like all successful businesses we are ambitious and are always striving to do things bigger and better. This investment allows us to accelerate our plans for growth more easily and without impacting on any areas of the current business. It was not a decision that was taken lightly as we pride ourselves on being independent. LDC are a minority partner and having an investor who is based in the same country is equally important. LDC shares our vision and understands the importance of people and the way our incubation program and our business models work. I believe it’s fair to say that we have the same common goals about creating successful IP and supporting new and established studios to become sustainable businesses that will become long term partners with Team17. Your press statement talks about global aspirations, how does this investment help that? We have stated previously we want to build an international label. Currently we have partners in Australia, North America, across Europe and the rest of the world. Team17 have a well-established and respected name. However we are still building the name in association with our games label. It’s time we took the great work we are doing on our games label to the next level. It’s just over two years since we announced we were looking for third party partners. At the time I said that we wanted to disrupt traditional publishing. Our label is, and always will be, something
September 2nd 2016
MD Bestwick says LDC’s investment will help Team17 build an international business
that’s created by games creators for games creators. I think it’s fair to say what we have achieved in such a short time is phenomenal. This deal will help to extend our reach and, step by step, expand our horizon by working with more developers around the world.
Team17 and LDC have common goals: creating successful IP and supporting studios to become sustainable businesses.
Are there any areas of your business that you’re specifically looking to grow? Or are there new areas you’d like to move into? There will not be any crazy diversification. Anyone who knows Team17 or works with us knows we are super focused. This is all about acceleration of our plans and working with the right people, games and production values.
Debbie Bestwick, Team17
In terms of further acquisitions, what are you looking for? While it is too early to get into details, our philosophy remains
the same. We look to partner with great people making great games. It does not matter if it’s your first game or you are a veteran developer. If the idea is great, commercially viable and you are as focused as we are, then we want to talk to you. We have clearly demonstrated our ability to help games makers from all walks of life create commercially and critically successful new IP like The Escapists, Sheltered, Beyond Eyes and Overcooked. This is still our core objective and it can be achieved via acquisition, via partnership or game funding. We will evaluate any potential opportunity individually on its own merits and see what is best for all parties. So what is it about Mouldy Toof Studios and The Escapists that make it a good fit for Team17? The Escapists was one of our first label signings and our partnership is incredibly special. Our collaboration has always been a fundamental part of the commercial success that was achieved. Chris [Davis], besides being the creator and founder of Mouldy Toof, is a very good friend and label partner who shares the same vision and values we do. Personally, it’s one of my proudest achievements seeing what the game and team have achieved together. Those combined factors made us decide to move forward with the acquisition and I’m delighted to welcome Mouldy Toof to our immediate family. It’s far too early to get into details about the franchise long-term but I can assure fans this game is incredibly close to everyone’s heart at Team17 and Mouldy Toof.
DEBBIE BESTWICK, TEAM17 INTERVIEW
Team17 has added The Escapists maker Mouldy Toof to its development family
Can we now expect buying and developing your own IP to take precedent over signing third party deals with indie studios? This allows us to expedite our growth on an international level and it’s why my management team and I remain the majority shareholders. If anything it’s going to allow more opportunities for our games label. Our label is the very essence of who we are collectively today. Additional acquisitions may happen, but it’s not something that’s a priority, and it’s not an automatic process. We talk about the importance of independent developers retaining IP and building for sustainability, that is and always will be our message. Likewise, with developing internal IP, we have a very talented studio, so I would not exclude new IPs. We are game makers at heart – we are passionate about making games, not just publishing. What message do you hope this investment will send about the state of the UK games industry? A good strong positive message that our industry is doing well. This
Will you be seeking more investment? We don’t need additional funding for our current plans. However, if the opportunity arises and there is a funding requirement, we believe we already have a great partner in LDC.
is LDC’s first investment in the games industry. That is testament to just how successful Team17 have been over recent years. Our business and games label is built on original IP – that’s hard to achieve in a tough industry. The UK has always been strong in terms of making games, but we are far from a global player in terms of publishing – at least not since Eidos. Is it the aim of Team17 to change that? We’re very ambitious, but right now our focus is on the next part of our journey and it’s very important we do this our way. We think very differently from traditional publishers and work completely differently to all I know. Do we want to become a new Eidos? No, we want to become known and respected for the success we deliver for our partners. Team17 as a games label is working with some amazingly talented people who create original IP. We have a responsibility to protect, nurture and help our partners on their journey as they grow: this is the reason we consider ourselves unique.
Do you have a financial target you need to hit in terms of revenue? We have always had revenue and profit targets – past, present and future - these are self-imposed target’s based on our own personal ambitions for Team17.
Lloyds Development Capital is putting £16.5m behind Team17
What is the long-term vision for Team17 now? Globally we strive to be recognised as the best games label for independent games. We’ve set goals consistently over the last six years since the MBO, and every single one we have achieved years ahead of schedule. We will be judged on the success of our partners and that’s exactly how we like it.
September 2nd 2016
THE BIG GAME PES 2017
“Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 is a really big turning point for us” With PES 2017, Konami has a round of strong team licences, including Liverpool and Barcelona, a two week headstart on FIFA and has plans for a smooth launch having learnt from last year’s missteps. Alex Calvin speaks to PES brand boss Adam Bhatti to find out more
ecently Pro Evolution Soccer has been growing in popularity - critically at least – and no where was that more apparent than last year’s PES 2016. The game reviewed pretty well, with some critics saying it was better than rival football title, FIFA 16. But, by Konami’s own admission, the title stumbled out of the gate; and this is something the firm is eager not to repeat with PES 2017. For last year’s title, Konami issued a patch that would update team kits and player rosters. But this was not rolled out until the end of October or, for some characters, November – months after its September release. “Last year, we had great momentum leading up to launch. But we made a big error with the Data Pack update,” global product and brand manager for PES Adam Bhatti says. “The volume was crazy, everyone heard about it. It took far too long to fix it. This year, our first communication about PES was that we’d have an update on Day One. That is one of those features that is so simple but adds so much to the authenticity and keeping the game up to date.” Bhatti is bullish about this year’s PES, though. The game is releasing two weeks ahead of rival FIFA and comes with a raft of gameplay changes. These include the game’s new first touch system, called ‘real touch’. This slows the game down and lets players think. Then there’s the new goalkeepers, reworked from the ground up. And finally there’s adaptive AI, which sees computer-
September 2nd 2016
PES is updating kits very early in its lifecyle this year
controlled players change how they play to reflect the user’s style. Bhatti also sees the fact that EA has changed engines from Ignite to Frostbite as an opportunity for PES. “With PES 2017 launching two weeks before FIFA, the potential is huge, especially in territories where we are quite balanced like Italy and Spain,” he says. “As a developer, EA has a new engine, so it has a learning curve. What EA wants to do is launch the game when it’s ready. We had that a few years ago when we moved to the Fox Engine. I feel like you are watching F1 racing and someone has pit stopped early. They’ll come out of the pit stop just ahead because they took that chance. I feel we have done that”
Three or four years ago, you could have listed four or five reasons why people didn’t play PES. Now there’s one: licences. Adam Bhatti, Konami
TEAM SPORT Another reason Bhatti is confident about PES 2017 is that Konami has managed to get its hands on some pretty sizeable
team licences, such as Liverpool and Barcelona. “One thing that we need to do is change the perception,” Bhatti says. “We would love to go and get the Premier League, we would love to get Bundesliga. Even if we wanted to, we’d have to wait two or three years until they became available again. In the meantime, we’re not sitting on our hands. People always talk to me about the weaknesses of PES. Three or four years ago, you could have listed four or five reasons why people didn’t play PES. Now there’s just one, and it’s licences. “It’s a question of: Do we just sit here and take the hit? Or do we do something about it? The team partnerships and licences is one way. It changes the perception; you’re talking about the biggest teams in the world: Barcelona, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund. And that’s just Europe, we are going to announce more
PES 2017 THE BIG GAME
Konami has reworked goalkeepers from the ground up for PES 2017
for Latin America. We are touring Argentina and Chile soon and we are going to announce some really big partnerships as well. For us, this is a way to move forward, making strides, changing the perception, reaching more people and making them aware that we don’t offer leagues, we wished we did, but here’s what are doing about it.” These teams will play a large role in Konami’s push for Pro Evolution Soccer 2017. “We tend to look at different avenues than FIFA, we don’t tend to compete on TV, we tend to compete online, whether it’s videos, marketing on websites or whatever,” Bhatti explains. “It’s always been slightly different. It’s not quite as in your face as what EA does. Now that we have these clubs – Barcelona has 150m fans across their platforms – we have access to that on an almost weekly basis. We are doing a lot with that. You’ll probably see a lot more of PES now throughout the season. We usually front end everything, but
now I think this year you will see us for the full cycle.” It’s the quality of PES that Bhatti is most eager to talk about, with recent titles improving significantly. “PES went through a really bad period between 2007 and 2013,” he says. “What we want is a strong consistent run of really good games. I feel PES 2017 is our third really good game in a row. The two-week head start is an opportunity to change perception, to give people a chance and reason to try PES with these new partnerships and we are hoping that more people give us a go. I strongly believe we have the best game. If I’m right, more people will play it and purchase it.”
We went through a bad period between 2007 and 2013. PES 2017 is our third really good game in a row. Adam Bhatti, Konami
TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY AS WELL as making a number of gameplay changes, FIFA is this year adding a story mode. This is a full narrative that tells the tale of a young footballer on his way up. Pro Evolution Soccer, however, has more important parts to focus on... for now. “I’d love to be in that position where I’m super comfortable with everything in the game so I’m going to go make something new,” PES brand boss Adam Bhatti says. “It just shows a lot of confidence in what EA does. But we are all about the gameplay; that’s our USP. That’s why we announced a demo because we want people to play it straight away. We’re that confident about the game. “When I see that from FIFA, I’m personally envious. We have a lot further to go.”
September 2nd 2016
INDIE INTERVIEW A story of life, love and loss Brighton-based developer PaperSeven won the UK Game of the Show award at Gamescom for Blackwood Crossing. Marie Dealessandri sat down with studio head Alice Guy to discuss this new fascinating IP and what’s next
rabbit-headed man and a traumatic life experience: that could sum up Donnie Darko. Or even Alice in Wonderland. But now it also summarises an equally unusual game: Blackwood Crossing. The title, which features its own weird and intriguing rabbit character, won UKIE’s Game of the Show at Gamescom — and developer PaperSeven couldn’t be more chuffed. “It was a brilliant surprise and a great reward for all the team’s hard word,” enthuses studio head Alice Guy. Guy co-founded PaperSeven in 2011, alongside technical director David Jefferies and art director Ryan Guy. All of them used to work for the now-defunct Black Rock Studio, which was shut down by Disney in 2011. Since then, they have mostly been working on third-party mobile games — until 2014. “In the last two years we’ve transitioned over to doing our own IP and have moved on to consoles and PC,” Guy explains. “We were very keen to develop games with some deep, meaningful stories behind them, and experiences that make the players think and feel. Blackwood Crossing is entirely our own IP and it’s kind of our baby.” This story-driven first-person puzzleadventure game revolves around the relationship between two orphaned siblings, Scarlett and Finn. Guy continues: “They have recently started to grow apart as Scarlett is entering adolescence and leaving her childhood behind. The game starts in the quite ordinary context of a moving train, but it quickly evolves into a sort of magical mysterious story, which explores the themes of life, love and loss.” The siblings’ train journey features a lot of enigmatic characters, creating an eerie and threatening atmosphere. But Guy wouldn’t say too much about what lies ahead for Blackwood Crossing’s heroes. “We don’t want to say too much about the rabbit-man at this point cause he’s quite a mysterious figure, but he appears throughout the game and you rapidly find out more and
February 5th 2016
development. That’s another game in which the ‘teenage girls’ theme has been explored. But I think there’s a still a long way to go. I don’t think we’ll ever be in a situation where there won’t be games that sexualise women. “It’s unfortunate, but I think if you can balance that out with strong female characters and always question yourself over the sexualisation of your characters, you can bring more balance to the industry.”
You always face the challenge that the general consumer doesn’t understand the level of work you have to do to produce games. Alice Guy, PaperSeven
more about him. But initially, neither you — because you play as Scarlett — or Finn knows who he is and what he’s there for.“ Having Scarlett, and not Finn, as the main character was actually a big deal for PaperSeven, Guy adds. “We’re very keen to explore characters that go against the traditional clichés of certain games. I think it’s just important that we always make sure we’re thinking in that way and challenging the way we create characters in games.” She observes: “Titles like Life is Strange have come out since we’ve been in
THE RIGHT BALANCE But having a strong female character was not the only priority for PaperSeven. The studio also put emphasis on creating a believable brother-sister relationship. “Having orphaned siblings was also very important to us, because it creates a bond between them that’s very special and unique. But still, you’re able to create a relationship that most players will be able to relate to and draw upon their own experiences while playing.” In order to make their relationship convincing, the studio “worked very hard on the script”. Blackwood Crossing’s writer is Oliver Reid-Smith, who also wrote 2012 mobile puzzle game The Room. But even with a great writer, Guy says that getting it right didn’t come without challenges. “I think just developing the story alongside the game was one of the challenges. But an exciting one to resolve,” she smiles. “That goes a long way to bringing elements such as your brother being slightly annoying or playful or, from a characterisation point of view, making sure their features have got continuity. Also, we worked with Side on the voice-over [the firm behind the VO of triple-A games such as The Division, Hitman and The Witcher III], to make sure we had the best possible experience. We made sure that, when we were casting them, their voices suited each other. But a lot of it comes down to the script and also to the animation and how the little nuances between them work.” The animation was actually another challenge for PaperSeven.
PaperSeven wants to create characters that go against clichés - such as Scarlett in Blackwood Crossing “We’ve done all the animations by hand, it’s quite a stylised art style, so just the level of animation that we have had to do has been quite a challenge for the team,” Guy explains. “Ultimately, I guess another point is we’ve tried to create a nice balance between the narrative thread of the game and the puzzleexploration moments. We’ve worked very hard to keep those puzzles and the exploration contextual to the story. So there’s enough to keep the player’s mind turning but without breaking the story flow.” LOOKING AHEAD Blackwood Crossing is coming out on PS4, Xbox One and Steam early next year, thanks to funding from Standfast Interactive (more about that in Money, Money, Money). “It’s always a challenge from the indie point of view to obtain the funds you need to create the experiences that the players expect and demand,” Guy says. “You know, I think when you look at recent games like No Man’s Sky... that’s an exceptional achievement by such a small team. Yet, you still always face the challenge that the general consumer doesn’t understand how games are made, and the level of work you have to do to produce these titles. Expectation levels continue to be very high and I guess the challenge for the independent teams is to be able to create the quality that a 200-person team is producing, within a realistic budget. But it’s very important that independent developers continue to push for the highest level of quality they can.”
Considering the early feedbacks on the game gathered at Gamescom, the highest level of quality appears to be there as far as Blackwood Crossing is concerned. “We hope, obviously very much, that we can continue to gather critical success and, hopefully, that will translate to commercial success,” Guy tells us. “What we also hope is it gives us a platform for future developments, and take the experiences we’ve learnt from Blackwood Crossing forward into a new development.” So is there already a successor to the yet-tobe-released Blackwood Crossing? “We’re working through our ideas, yes,” Guy answers. “We certainly have concepts that we’re developing alongside releasing Blackwood Crossing. “I can’t say much at this stage, but we’re hoping to build on our knowledge from Blackwood Crossing and take ourselves to another level. As a studio, we always want to be looking ahead and pushing ahead, and thinking about what the genre is going to be in perhaps 18 months time, and thinking on that basis.” Blackwood Crossing, which was referred to by PaperSeven as their first ‘grown up game’, certainly seems to be a good starting point for a bright future. “It’s the game that we are the proudest about,” Guy smiles. “It’s also our first on consoles and PC, and I think it’s sort of the first game that represents what we want to be in the future. Which is a studio that develops interesting stories and characters, which the players can believe in and relate to.“
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY SOME INDIE developers take their games to Kickstarter, but not PaperSeven. Instead, the studio got in touch with investment company Standfast Interactive. “Blackwood Crossing was a concept that we developed over time, and then went into production in around June last year, having received funding from Standfast Interactive,” studio head Alice Guy explains. “Standfast Interactive is an organisation based in Liverpool, which provides funding for studios and has set up a publishing arm called Vision Games Publishing [through which Blackwood Crossing is going to be published]. It just keeps the games they fund within a sort of publishing stable. We are only the third or fourth game they will have published. “What makes Standfast Interactive an attracting source of funding is that we’re able to retain control of our IP,” she adds. PaperSeven did consider self-publishing Blackwood Crossing but appreciates the support of a publisher in the end. “As a sort of young studio looking to develop a high-end game, it would have been challenging for us to raise sufficient funds independently,” Guy says. ”And also it allows us to focus on the development while the publishing side and the community side can be worked on with the publisher. So we get a lot of benefit from working with a publisher.”
February 5th 2016
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INTERVIEW GO 8-BIT
‘Go 8-Bit is for gamers who have never written in all-caps on a web forum’ A new TV show dedicated to video games launches on Dave next week. Christopher Dring speaks to two of the stars of Go 8-Bit – Steve McNeil and Ellie Gibson – to find out more
ack in 2013, comedy double-act Steve McNeil and Sam Pamphilon had failed to write anything for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The duo had performed sketch shows in previous years, but they had been busy writing a sitcom so hadn’t prepared anything. In fact, they weren’t going to go until they hit upon a simple idea. “We thought if we took a SNES, got our comedian friends drunk, got them to play Mario Kart and swear at each other, that would probably be entertaining enough to charge people money,” explains McNeil. “It was really just a bit of dicking around. But it actually became more successful than the stuff we had spent years writing.” Now, three years later, Go 8-Bit is making the transition from stage to TV, with the first episode going out on Monday, September 5th. “It’s going to be less about drunk comedians punching each other into a cupboard, and more tele,” says McNeil. FRESH FACES The live version of Go 8-Bit did manage to attract fans within the games industry, most notably Eurogamer journalist and stand-up comic Ellie Gibson, who has joined the cast for the TV version. “I like video games, I like comedy, and I heard about this show that combined these things, so I went to see it,” she says. “I had expected to have a nice night, but honestly, it blew my mind. “So I went up after the show, and said: ‘Hi, I’m Ellie, I’m from Eurogamer. I want to help.’ That led to Go 8-Bit appearing at EGX. Then the TV show happened and
September 2nd 2016
Ellie Gibson (left) and Steve McNeil (right) both hope Go 8-Bit will reach beyond core gamers
they asked me to audition, and I apparently was not completely shit.” As McNeil suggested, the TV show will be toned down from the more chaotic live version. “The TV show still has the heart and spirit of the live show,” he continues. “But it was designed to be performed and watched blind drunk, to the sort of audience that goes to midnight Fringe shows, which are raucous, reprehensible but wonderful people. Sam and I would have to do forfeits if we lost, which half the time involved drinking tuna. It was maybe a bit laddie. The TV show has shaved that edge off of it. There are no punishments. Which is great, because I don’t know if you’ve ever drunk fish, but it’s not nice.” However, the biggest addition to the TV version is the inclusion of its headline star, Dara O’Briain. “He has been an absolutely nightmare. He’s a liability,” jokes McNeil. “No, it’s absolutely wonderful. Some people have gone: ‘This was
This isn’t eSports. It’s not about being the best in the world. It’s about re-creating the spirit of booting up a console with mates and dicking around in a game. Steve NcNeil, Go 8-Bit
McNeil and Pamphilon’s show, why is Dara involved?’ But Dave is a commercial TV channel, and by the best will in the world, McNeil and Pamphilon’s Go 8-Bit is not going to get as many viewers as Dara O’Briain’s Go 8-Bit. “And frankly, it wouldn’t have been as good. Dara is passionate about video games and he is also the best panel show host in the country. So, the fact that we were able to get him on our show, and guide us through what was a big step for myself and Sam... it’s been brilliant. He was so generous to us. “Same with Ellie, Dara is someone everybody’s heard of, but Ellie was also someone who wasn’t part of the live version. The show that exists now is one that wouldn’t work without those two.” CELEBRITY APPEAL Dara O’Briain’s Go 8-Bit will see celebrity gamers go head-to-head, including the likes of David James, Bob Mortimer, Jason Manford, Rachel Riley and a host of others.
GO 8-BIT INTERVIEW
After three years of live shows, Go 8-Bit is making the transition to TV, starting on September 5th
“Some people appear to be worried by the celebrity thing,” says McNeil. “Yet we have gamers. Ex-England goalkeeper David James, who might look like a curveball booking, is a passionate gamer. He’s completed Tetris.” Gibson adds that the celebrity element, and the silly nature of the show, will hopefully make Go 8-Bit reach beyond core gamers. “It’s the thing I liked first time I saw the stage show with this huge room of people,” she says. “They cannot all have been hardcore gamers. There was a complete mix of genders and backgrounds. There were all these people screaming obscenities at comedians playing video games. It was about the sheer fun of play.” McNeil adds: “This isn’t eSports. It’s not about being the best in the world. It’s about re-creating the spirit of booting up a console with mates and dicking around in a game.” Gibson again: “It’s like playing games around your house with
people who are funny, and Dara O’Briain is your dad. Or something.” THE ‘GAMES ON TV’ QUESTION Inevitably, we can’t talk about a video game TV show without discussing their high failure rate. Today, the video game TV programmes that appear to work are more niche shows, or oneoff specials. The glory days of GamesMaster are a distant memory. “It is difficult to get games on TV right,” begins Gibson. “Video games is an interactive medium. I interviewed one of the people behind GamesMaster, and they said: ‘We weren’t trying to be cool, because if you try to be cool, it’s just rubbish’. So we thought we would just try for funny. This is obviously very different from GamesMaster in many ways, but the same spirit is there. The best shows are the ones that don’t take games too seriously, and just have a laugh with them. And also doesn’t patronise people.” Things are made harder, McNeil concludes, by the sometimes-
The best shows are the ones that don’t take games too seriously, and just have a laugh with them. Ellie Gibson, Go 8-Bit
aggressive behaviour from gamers on social media. “Unfortunately with gaming, the most vocal portion of the community is this small minority of people that just seem to exist to be angry and hate everything. When the TV show airs, there will be people being dreadful about it. He pauses: “This is for people who love games and have never written in all-caps on a web forum. “But the thing that I’ve tried to say to gamers when they’ve raised concerns, I’ve said: ‘If Go 8-Bit is positively received, then every channel is going to want to make a video game TV show’. The current view is that games on TV don’t work, so if the community doesn’t get behind it, it’ll be another 15 years before anyone else gets a go. It took me three years to convince anyone to make the bloody thing. TV is conservative. That’s why the BBC is just making ‘70s sitcoms again rather than anything new. Although Fleabag is good. Watch Fleabag.” Gibson quips: “Dara O’Briain’s Fleabag.”
September 2nd 2016
It’s time to stop ignoring Turkey Many publishers have Turkey down as an emerging market, but with a gaming population of 30m, Tuğbek Ölek, co-founder of local media firm Seti, says the region has already emerged. Alex Calvin reports
ou may be surprised to learn that Turkey is home to a burgeoning games market. Between 2014 and 2015, Turkey’s games market grew by 24.7 per cent and, according to research firm Newzoo, it ranks as the 16th biggest games market in the world with a value of £573m. This in part has been due to the formation of the Turkish Game Developer Association, a body that has not only united the local games scene, but has also worked with the country’s government to help develop this sector. “With the organisation we started a dialogue and relationships within the industry, and developers started to contribute more,” explains Tuğbek Ölek of Turkish games knowledge hub Seti Media. “We started having more presence and worked really hard in the last few years to create important government support programmes. All that momentum helped us grow quicker. Turkey has a very young population and they are very into gaming. It’s like soil that you seed on. These are young people who are passionate about gaming and all want to be developers or eSports players one day. They have dreams about games. It helps us build more talent and attract more people to the industry. “There were too many barriers before. For example, the general image of games in public meant that families were stopping their kids getting into games. Now we have real government support and public perception is changing, too. They see that this is an industry supported by the minister
September 2nd 2016
Turkey was the partner country for this year’s Gamescom
of economy, among others. It helps us change the image. Now families are happy that their kids want to be a game developer.”
Ask Riot if Turkey is an emerging market when it is its second biggest territory in all of Europe. We’re talking about 30m gamers here.
HELPING HANDS He continues: “We get a lot of support from the government. A number of different agencies provide different support. The most important one is a programme from the Ministry of Economy. They support game exports. 95 per cent of our production is export anyway, so basically they support everything happening in the games industry. “Support starts from the concept stage to engineer salaries to production costs, localisation, marketing, events, online store commissions... developers can get back $500,000 per game per year. Of course, you need to first build your game up – half a
Tuğbek Ölek, Seti Media
million is the cap so you need to be clever to use it. And also a little bit successful. The good thing is it’s not credit; it’s a cash back refund.” Furthermore, the government has assisted in developing the education infrastructure for games in Turkey. “We have undergraduate and postgraduate programmes here for games,” Ölek says. “There are also incubation centres helping mature people to gain experience. We need a huge number of talent and fast. We are building up a new training initiative with an employment agency in Turkey. What we will do is create specific three month courses, let’s say on AI programming. You attend those courses and the government pays you money just for attending. You can support yourself during courses. It’s not big money, it’s not like a salary,
Ölek insists that Turkey will make a good base of operations for European ﬁrms looking to break Asia
but it helps with your expenses. Then you get paid internships for three months in one of four companies so you can get some real experience, too. if you are successful, you get employed. Our industry needs skills and our studios have open positions now. We can’t find anyone to put there. We built this to streamline the process, so we can find amateurs and people with interests and passion and adapt them into our studios faster. In games, working in a studio is the real education.” LEFT BEHIND It hasn’t all been good news for Turkey, however. The region has by and large been ignored by the big console publishers. “In the last ten years there have been two main trends that have shaped our market,” Ölek says. “The first is that the big companies neglected Turkey. Publishers like EA, Activision and Ubisoft never wanted to invest in Turkey. So there was a huge gaming population but no investment at all. Then the first online game companies like BigPoint realised this and invested heavily and shaped the Turkish games market. That’s why in
Turkey online games are much, much more popular than console or triple-A games. It’s PC-based, it’s online and it’s competitive. “After that, a second wave of publishers like Riot and Wargaming came with even bigger investment. Riot has an office with 80-plus people just to serve Turkish gamers. That’s around ten times more than Sony and it has something like 85 per cent market share in Turkey (in terms of consoles). Microsoft was too late to the party. “There are probably 2m or 3m console gamers in total, but we estimate there are 14m online gamers. 4m people play League of Legends, around 3.5m play Counter-Strike, FIFA and PES have huge numbers because they’re really big in internet cafés. “The second most important trend to shape games over the last decade in Turkey is Facebook,” says Ölek. “Facebook became such a hit in Turkey. When social games were massive, we were the third biggest country on Facebook and No.1 in terms of engagement. Turkish people went crazy for Facebook. When social gaming was a thing, they were all playing games – we suddenly had 20m gamers. 10m Farmville players
came out of no-where. Of course, when social gaming died, most of them evolved into mobile games. That’s why casual mobile games are really popular in Turkey.” Despite the lack of investment by console publishers in the region, Ölek believes that it’s not too late for these firms to make an impact. “Gamers are always too rewarding for the care given to them,” he says. “It’s never too late to invest. But they’re still
Lots of companies used Turkey as a jumping board to MENA. That didn’t work well as MENA is a complicated region. Tuğbek Ölek, Seti Media
not investing. To most console publishers, Turkey is classified as ‘emerging markets’. It’s a term that they use for Turkey. “Ask Riot if it’s emerging or if it’s the second biggest territory in all of Europe. We are talking
about 30m gamers and we are described as ‘emerging’. 30m gamers is bigger than the populations of most countries. It’s just the big companies’ way. They don’t want to invest. They are happy that there is a distributor and they just ship things.” Ölek also says that Turkey, with its position straddling both Europe and Asia, is a great place for European firms looking to make it big in Asia and vice versa. “Our culture is much closer to Asia,” Ölek says. “Lots of companies have used Turkey as a jumping board to MENA [Middle East and North Africa]. It didn’t work that well because MENA is a very complicated region. Everyone thinks they are all Arabic and all speak the language. That’s not the case. None of those countries speak the same Arabic. It’s different and localisation is hard. You have to understand each country. It’s not that easy. Asia is much easier. “For example, Turkish and Korean cultures are really similar. And the Turkish language and Japanese are very similar. Nobody is trying to use Istanbul as a point to reach the East. But they should.”
September 2nd 2016
SHELF LIFE This week, Daniel Lawrence from N1 Games in London talks Xbox One S, FIFA 17, Call of Duty and NX with MCV How has business been lately? It’s been quite slow to be honest. I think the reason why is because lots of people are buying stuﬀ online. That’s sort of the bad thing about the new consoles, they’re taking everything to the online side. What games have you been seeling well recently? It’s all a bit mediocre. All year round, there’s GTA, Call of Duty, FIFA - they’ve always been the biggest releases. Every single year.
What about the new Xbox One S console? Is it performing well? Yes, we couldn’t get a lot in, but we sold out straight away. I’m already taking pre-orders for the versions releasing in September but we haven’t got a lot at the moment. We are just waiting for people to get the information that it’s coming out.
I mean people are already preordering FIFA and Call of Duty... People are going crazy about the Modern Warfare remake, which is really good. But the actual Call of Duty game, it’s so-so. What platform performs the best at your store? PS4 by far. Maybe it’s just the area that we’re in. Personally I prefer the Xbox, the online side is a lot better but, around here, more or less everyone is a PlayStation person.
Do you think it will be enough for Microsoft to gain the upper hand?
I can’t really say for sure. I mean, the specs are good but it all depends on the service. I have to admit, the online free games are a lot better. I know there are loads of free content on the PlayStation Plus, but Xbox seems to be giving away bigger games, which is a lot better. What about Nintendo? Is the Wii U performing well? As much as I hate to say it: no. The best thing for us with Nintendo
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is the 3DS. From what I hear about the new NX, it seems very intriguing, I hope that it can bring Nintendo back. I’m hoping it does well. What games are you looking forward to? I’m not really a big FIFA fan but the Story Mode has quite intrigued me. The Modern Warfare remake also. Other than that, my biggest one is Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I can’t wait for it.
Phone: 020 7713 7979 Website: http://n1games.co.uk/
What about virtual reality? Are you looking forward to it? I’m not sure to be honest. I know it will sell, we have had a lot of people inquiring about pre-orders already, but we’re not even sure how much we’re getting in there. What are your prospects for the rest of the year? Towards the end of the year, we always do well. As soon as Call of Duty is in, we’ll be selling loads.
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September 2nd 2016
PLAYSTATION Sony has big plans for its consoles and exclusive titles – and that includes a wealth of tie-in items. Marie Dealessandri has selected the best of the past and upcoming PlayStation merchandise
IT’S been an odd week for Sony, after its alleged Slim PS4 leaked online when someone managed to buy one on Gumtree. As we go to press, the platform holder still hasn’t commented, despite the fact that PS4 Slims are already on eBay and that CEX is even selling the machine. Sony is expected to announce the PS4 Slim on September 7th during an event that was planned long ago. Reports from The Wall Street Journal further say that the
Licensed merchandise oﬀers consumers a way to extend an extraordinary experience into their everyday lives. David Evans, Sony
firm has cut production of the existing PS4. This also paves the way for another new console, which was officially announced this time — the PlayStation Neo. The Neo will be compatible with current PS4 games, which is definitely good news since Sony has a strong upcoming first-party line-up. There’s the new entry in the God of War series, a brand new survival IP (Days Gone), a
HORIZON ZERO DAWN COLLECTOR’S EDITION The collector’s edition of Sony’s upcoming Horizon Zero Dawn comes with a very detailed statue of main character Aloy, created by Gentle Giant. There’s also a 48-page artbook by Dark Horse, a Steelbook case, four resource packs, two outﬁts, two weapons and a PS4 theme. It’s releasing on March 3rd 2017 and is now available to pre-order. SRP: £104.99 Manufacturer: Sony Distributor: CentreSoft Contact: 01216 253 388
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Wealthy die-hard God of War fans can invest in this impressive Kratos statue – which is actually the cheaper one in Gaming Heads’ collection.
Players can celebrate the original PlayStation with this retro jacket, which was ﬁrst released for the console’s 20th anniversary.
PS2 favourite Persona 4 launched seven years ago, and is ﬁnally having a sequel, with Persona 5 due to hit shelves next February.
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Spider-Man game developed by Insomniac, Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding, plus The Last Guardian (October 28th), Gran Turismo: Sport (November 18th), Persona 5 (February 14th), Horizon: Zero Dawn (March 3rd) and the remastered versions of the Crash Bandicoot franchise. Sony is also going big on merchandise, with titles such as Horizon: Zero Dawn being described by Sony’s European licensing manager
David Evans as ‘an incredible licensing opportunity’. “Guerilla Games has created a lush post-apocalyptic world that players simply won’t want to leave, and licensed merchandise offers consumers a way to extend that extraordinary experience into their everyday lives,” he told MCV’s sister publication Licensing.biz. These Horizon: Zero Dawn items could launch as soon as Q4 2016.
SKYLANDERS: IMAGINATORS 2016 - CRASH LIMITED EDITION (PS4) Before its big come back next year with remastered versions of the original Crash Bandicoot games, Crash will be at the centre of Activision’s new Skylanders instalment, Imaginators. The character is closely linked with PlayStation, and the Crash ﬁgure will give access to a unique level, the Thumpin’ Wumpa Islands. This special edition launches on October 14th. SRP: £84.99 Manufacturer: Activision Distributor: CentreSoft Contact: 01216 253 388
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UK sales manager Dave Nelson talks about PDP’s growth and its new partnership with Harmonix Tell us about your company. PDP is the No.1 video game accessory company in North America. PDP’s passion is to design and develop products that help consumers engage and interact with the entertainment they love. Our industry leadership is due to our engineering expertise and experience developing advanced technology. What successes have you seen recently? We’ve had many: double-digit growth year-on-year, successful
launched of our LVL audio range and 93,000 downloads of the new Afterglow Controller app in the Xbox One dashboard. Our success has also migrated across the channel where PDP is now No.1 in third-party accessories in France.
of additional content and features that will be conﬁrmed in the coming weeks. What are the biggest trends in the games industry aﬀecting you right now? Audio oﬀers a huge opportunity for PDP from basic chat devices to premium headsets. Our AG9 for Xbox One is the only ‘true’ wireless headset to retail under £100. Also there’s the loot/merchandise category, and we have a robust product line up launching at peak with much more for next year.
What are you currently working on? PDP has signed a very exciting partnership with Harmonix and will see a new Rock Band out this year, called Rock Band Rivals. The game has a brand new Fender Jaguar guitar and a whole range
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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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September 2nd 2016
FACTFILE SWITZERLAND Sponsored by
INTERNATIONAL FACTFILE: SWITZERLAND Population: 8,380,000 Capital City: Bern Currency: Swiss Franc (CHF) GDP (Per Capita): $85,373.8 KEY RETAILERS GameStop, Softridge, Ex Libris, Wog.ch, Fnac, Mix-Image, Media Markt, Alcom.ch, Migros/ Melectronics, Coin-Op.ch, Citydisc.ch, Cash Converters, Interdiscount, Toys R Us TOP DISTRIBUTORS ABC Distribution & Retail Solutions, BigBen Interactive, Gametime, Koch Media
THE Swiss games industry had a turnover of 226m CHF (£178m) in 2015, according to the latest report by the Swiss Interactive Entertainment Association (SIEA). The market has declined by 7.6 per cent compared to 2014, due to a ‘rise in online sales’ (which are not included in the study). The report revealed that 276,000 consoles were sold in the country in 2015, alongside 1.75m console games — that’s respectively an eight per cent and four per cent increase. However, sales for handheld consoles have decreased by 23 per cent and PC games dipped by 28 per cent. These drops are due to the “growing trend of online and smartphone gaming,” the SIEA explains. The best-selling boxed game in the country last year was FIFA 2015. Grand Theft Auto V, Need for Speed, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Star Wars Battlefront, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and
September 2nd 2016
TOP DEVELOPERS Apelab, Bitforge, Bits & Beasts, Blindﬂug Studios, Colorbloks, Crown Adam, Digital Kingdom, Etter Studio, Everdream Soft, Gbanga, Giants Software, HeartQuake Studios, IF Games, Koboldgames, Mr. Whale’s Game Service, Sunnyside Games, Team Niche, Tourmaline, Urban Games PUBLISHERS IN THE REGION Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft, Warner Bros, EA, Activision Blizzard
276,000 consoles were sold in 2015, alongside 1.75m console games. Halo 5 were also amongst the most popular games of 2015 in Switzerland, the study further says. SIEA president Peter Züger commented: “The growing popularity of video games, from both children and adults, is reflected by the growing number of video games courses, events and shows in Switzerland. Video games culture will continue to grow in the coming years. We are very excited by this sector’s innovation power and by the thrilling gaming opportunities it represents.”
MEANWHILE IN... RUSSIA Free-to-play title Halo Online, which was designed for the Russian market and set to launch later this year, has been cancelled THE free-to-play PC multiplayer version of Halo, which was created speciﬁcally for the Russian market, will not make it to release. Halo Online was scheduled for a 2016 launch but the title’s social media team announced last week that the game had been cancelled. “Over the past six months, our colleagues from Microsoft failed to make decisions on the future of the project. Now we know only one thing — the current form of the game will not be released,” the team explained on Russian social network VK.
Halo Online had entered beta testing in the region. Microsoft commented: “The Halo Online closed beta test represented a great opportunity for us to learn how to deliver a
great Halo experience to PC players. We recently concluded the closed beta and are grateful to all the players who participated in Russia.”
September 2nd 2016
OFF THE RECORD
OFF THE RECORD This week is all about costumed people, although we’re not sure that Pikachu guy is enjoying it as much as the others INSOMNIA COSPLAY FUNNIES IT was Insomnia 58 last weekend. We couldn’t be there, sadly, but it sounded pretty fantastic. When browsing the press archive of all the photos, it was the cosplay folder that caught our eye. Is there a better embodiment of the joy and passion of a fandom than its willingness to craft what are genuinely amazing costumes and then prance about on the stage in front of strangers? We salute these brave folks. Here’s a selection of our favourites, and some mini reviews: 1. Better than Jared Leto 2. Menacing 3. Outstanding! 4. Love it! 5. Maybe our favourite 6. The editors of MCV and Develop 7. Unsettling for reasons we can’t quite articulate 8. We think that’s Gamer Network invading the enemy
SWEATING BUCKETS ALONG with celebrating the passion and commitment of the fandom, also spare a thought for the physical sacriﬁces made by the poor soul paid to don a Pikachu suit for the launch of Insert Coin’s pop-up Pokémon store in Shoreditch — in what was one of hottest days of the year. We once hired a Chewbacca costume for Halloween and went clubbing. Clubbing until 3am in a latex suit covered in fur. We sweated so much we were a stone and a half lighter in the morning. On the plus side, the mask made it hard to drink so the hangover wasn’t too bad. It was also quite a hit with the ladies, though hopefully not because our face was hidden.
September 2nd 2016
OFF THE RECORD
Green Man Gaming Asks...
Kingsglaive: FFXV is out this week - Do you think Final Fantasy XV will live up to all of the hype? Why? #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!
It’ll certainly live up to mine. I don’t like FF, and this one looks cool.
I don’t think so, what I heard from other tests... The characters have no soul.
I saw the movie on the weekend. It’s hard to follow, has plot holes and doesn’t tie up much story, but it’s still better than The Spirits Within.
It’s a curious thing, but I’m sure the hardcore FF fanbase will be happy with it!
I never give in to hype, as once hyped for a game, it won’t live up to your expectations on release.
The movie Kingsglaive is superb, the game isn’t out yet to let you know if it’s any good ;-)
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September 2nd 2016
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