G2A’S CHARM OFFENSIVE ISSUE 899 FRIDAY NOVEMBER 4TH 2016
HOW THE FIRM PLANS TO WIN OVER THE INDUSTRY P12
LAUNCH BOTNET? PSN
NEXT-GEN HACKER THREAT New Mirai botnet could make PSN and Xbox Live “sitting ducks” at Christmas
by Seth Barton SECURITY experts say that gaming networks, such as Xbox Live and PSN, will be high on the list of potential targets for the new generation of botnet attacks. That could spell disaster for the industry during one of its key gaming seasons, again. Igal Zeifman, security evangelist at Imperva said: “From an attacker’s point of view it makes perfect sense to strike during this time of year, which is when gaming services are busiest and an assault is both most notable and most likely to succeed.” The much-publicised Mirai malware is the big new weapon available to hackers.
It exploits the default passwords in Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices (such as webcams and digital video recorders) to create a huge network of devices, which can then be used to spam online services with requests and effectively make them unusable for regular users. Similar Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have taken down Xbox Live and PSN before, most famously by Lizard Squad in 2014. Such attacks have also hit individual games, including Destiny. Another such attack would upset huge numbers of gamers, resulting in a PR nightmare for platform holders, publishers and retailers, not to mention the potential loss in digital revenue over the period.
Gaming companies depend on service availability ... reduced availability equals reduced revenue. Sean Newman, director, Corero Network Security
“Gaming companies depend on service availability, so any interruption results in a loss of customer loyalty and brand reputation,” said Sean Newman at Corero Network Security, adding: “Reduced availability equals reduced revenue.” Those attacks are even more likely this year, however, as the Mirai malware has been publicly released, making it a far more prevalent threat. That increases the number of potential attackers and also increases the likelihood that the malware itself could have been tweaked to recruit yet more vulnerable IoT devices. CONTINUED OVER PAGE
PLUS WHY LAWBREAKERS DITCHED FREE-TO-PLAY 01 MCV899 Cover_V3.indd 1
n OBSIDIAN ON ITS NEW RPG TYRANNY 01/11/2016 17:28
MCV has moved to London
Botnet Grinches Christmas gaming Continued from cover ... “Games companies are virtually ‘sitting ducks’ unless they have the protection offered by the latest generation of DDoS protection hardware. If they are using a legacy DDoS solution, it’s not sufficient because legacy solutions just don’t have the capacity, intelligence, or reaction times to deal with today’s attacks,” said Newman. Platform holders should be able to mitigate against such attacks then, Zeifman agreed: “DDoS is countered by the over provisioning of server and network resources, in combination with security solutions that can identify and weed out malicious traffic. Service providers should invest in both, as I’m sure they’re doing already.” Hackers have historically targeted such platforms, as the effects are highly publicised and the enraged response is instantly
F-Secure, said: “The real measure of success is whether or not the service is back up to full speed once the attack is over. That is where Microsoft succeeded in 2014 and Sony failed.” Sullivan suggests the companies set expectations early, talk about the possible threat, and declare if they are threatened. The question, then, is whether platform holders should speak out about their precautionary measures. It would help to reassure the industry and consumers but it may also fan the flames of publicity that hackers seem to bask in. Such uncertainty means both physical media and titles with strong single-player offerings look a safer bet come the holidays. Even if the networks fail come the big day, there would still be entertainment to be had from such games.
apparent on message boards. Notoriety and exposure often drive such attacks, though blackmail is a possible motivation. Attacks without a financial motivation will hit without warning,
said Zeifman: “Money’s one of the reasons behind DDoS attacks but I’m not sure it will be the case with attacks on Christmas Eve, which are usually flamboyant assaults looking for media attention.” Sean Sullivan, security advisor at
YOUR favourite games industry trade publication has moved from the countryside of Hertfordshire to London. MCV is now based in NewBay Media’s London office at the Emerson Building, near London Bridge, after the closure of the Hertford office. This follows the hiring of journalism veteran Seth Barton as the publication’s new editor and the promotion of Alex Calvin to deputy editor. Our new address is: The Emerson Building 4th Floor 4-8 Emerson Street London SE1 9DU Meanwhile, the NewBay Media games team – which also includes Develop – can be reached at 0203 889 4900.
EA triumphant in massive month for UK games retail Continued strong sales of EA’s FIFA 17 and blockbuster Battlefield 1 launch help publisher reach No.1 spot by Alex Calvin OCTOBER 2016 was a blockbuster sales period, with revenue from physical games rising 50 per cent year-on-year according to GfK Entertainment. £90.5m was made from boxed software sales for the month, while 2.4m games were sold an increase of 41 per cent over October 2015. EA once again came out on top in the publisher rankings thanks to continued strong sales of FIFA 17, which came out in the last week of September. That’s on top of the launch of Battlefield 1, which has held the No.1 spot in the weekly charts since its October 21st release. The firm was also behind Titanfall 2, which hit shelves last week.
November 4th 2016
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The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Special Edition
Gears of War
Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Edition
Forza Horizon 3
Grand Theft Auto V
2K Games Square Enix Microsoft EA Rockstar
In fact, 42.2 per cent of units shifted during October and 47.5 per cent of software revenue were generated by EA games. FIFA 17 was the best-selling boxed game of the month, while Battlefield 1 came in second place. Mafia III from 2K landed at No.3, and along with WWE 2K17, helped 2K Games chart second in the publisher ranks. The PS4 and Xbox One Special Edition version of 2011’s Skyrim, which was only on shelves for two days counted in this chart, came in at fourth place, and caused Bethesda to rise from No.13 to No.4 in the publisher ranks for the month. For a more detailed look at the October charts, check out the November 11th issue of MCV.
Dovetail: Train Sim World sets a new bar for simulation sector by Alex Calvin SIMULATION specialist Dovetail Games has said that its next generation Train Simulator title, Train Sim World, raises the bar for quality in the market. Speaking to MCV, COO Jon Rissik said that the simulation sector has been blighted by some low quality releases, but that sim projects can now compete with ‘more traditional’ genres. This follows Dovetail announcing it had secured a multi-million pound investment from UK finance house Alcuin Capital Partners. This is being used to build a new platform for simulation fans called Dovetail Live. “We are happy with our next iteration in the Train Simulator
franchise, Train Sim World, which is built on Unreal Engine 4 technology,” Rissik said. “That goes into beta in December with a February launch date. That really is our mark in the sand of where we see the quality bar being for simulation moving forwards. Sims have been a much-maligned category that aren’t viewed in the same light as other more traditional genres. The sector has brought some of that on itself – there have been some lower quality entrants that haven’t helped. What we are able to now do with the new technology places us along the very best of triple-A entertainment. “There’s lots of work to do, but I feel we have positioned ourselves well. The investment [from Alcuin Capital Partners] only helps that.”
THE GAMING PIE
s the battle between this year’s big shooters shifts into its final phase, we can be certain it’ll be one war or another dominating the charts this Christmas - no change there. It’s not surprising then that the industry is still painted in terms of a battle between deadly rivals. Whether it’s between the big publishers, the key platform holders, high street and online retail, or even the numerous press outlets, we’re all out to win. My history isn’t great, admittedly, but I can’t think of an actual war where everyone won. Amid the keen competition for greater market share the best way forward is to simply keep increasing the size of the gaming pie. As the industry grows we can all benefit: more consumers, playing more games and spending more money. And that’s where I want MCV to come in, to help you all grow that gaming pie. This is a hugely exciting and vibrant industry, one of only a handful in the UK where we create, publish, market, distribute and retail world-class product. The UK is truly a gaming nation. I want MCV to act as a rallying point for that industry. Whether it’s in print, online or through social media, I want it to help break down barriers of communication between the various silos. To bring us all together, stronger, and ensure that our gains are at the expense of other forms of
Dovetail’s Rissik told MCV that sim projects can now compete with ‘more traditional’ genres
PRE-ORDER TOP 10
CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE - LEGACY EDITION (PS4)
Final Fantasy XV Day 1 Edition (PS4)
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Legacy Edition (XO)
Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System
Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)
Persona 5: Collectors (PS4)
Watch Dogs 2 (PS4)
Pokemon Sun (3DS)
The Last Guardian (PS4)
Nintendo Switch Console
02 03 MCV899 News_V6.indd 2
This is a hugely exciting and vibrant industry, one of only a handful in the UK where we create, publish, market, distribute and retail worldclass product. entertainment, and not just each other’s businesses. Not everyone has time every morning to do the rounds of the big news sites, whether you’re running a busy retailer or are at the tight end of getting product to market. While social media provides a unique curation of the day’s issues, it can also function as an echo chamber of agreeable opinion. MCV will provide a balanced take on the big events, one you can trust to explain both sides of any story. After two straight weeks of editorial departures, I’m glad to say I’m here and here to stay. I’d like to thank Chris and Ben for leaving such a strong product and such a great team to build upon. I’ve run out of space to say anything about me, and the new London-based team, this week. But with many years of working together ahead of us all, I reckon that can wait until the next issue. email@example.com
November 4th 2016
UP & DOWN
Revenue saw a slight 12 per cent increase as seven new games entered the charts £30m £15m
£21m 537,230 units
Week Ending October 15th
£22m 605,162 units
Week Ending October 22nd
BATMAN: Return to Arkham had a 52 per cent dip in sales for its second week in the charts
£25m 708,805 units MINECRAFT: PlayStation Edition gained two spots to No.21 with sales increasing 93 per cent
Week Ending October 29th
EVENT CALENDAR NOVEMBER 2016
GOLDEN JOYSTICKS 2016 Indig02 Friday, November 18th ■ The 34th edition of the Golden Joystick Awards will be open to the public for the first time ever ■ The Golden Joystick Awards are being organised by Future’s GamesRadar+ and the winners are voted for by the public.
GAMES INDUSTRY CHRISTMAS PARTY Sway Bar, London Tuesday, December 6th ■ MCV’s Games Industry Christmas Party is back on December 6th. ■ Like last year, the party will take place on at the Sway Bar in Holborn (London) and will run from 7.30pm. The tickets cost just £10 and includes entrance, free drinks and food. All proceeds go to our charity partner, Games Aid.
ESPORTS INDUSTRY AWARDS The Brewery, London Monday, November 21st ■ The first eSports Industry Awards will take place in London this November ■ Media personality Julia Hardy and Gadget Show’s Jason Bradbury to host ■ 18 prizes up for grabs FUTURE GAMES SUMMIT Millennium Mayfair Hotel, London Wednesday, November 23rd – Thursday, November 24th ■ A brand new conference that will examine the opportunities and challenges facing the games industry in the UK and beyond
November 4th 2016
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JANUARY 2017 ........................................................................... POCKET GAMER CONNECTS 2017 The Brewery, London Monday, January 16th – Tuesday, January 17th ■ Steel Media’s annual conference is back next January at the Brewery. ■ Indie Survival, Monetisation & User Acquisition, Industry Trends, Global Publishing; Funding & Investment, Local Talent & Success Stories and Practical Development Advice will be amongst the subjects covered during this edition.
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
BETHESDA WILL NO LONGER SEND EARLY COPIES TO REVIEWERS
Bethesda has announced that the press will not receive early copies of its games anymore. “While we will continue to work with media, streamers, and YouTubers to support their coverage, we want everyone to experience our games at the same time,” the publisher said in a statement.
More than 47.4m PlayStation consoles have now been shipped to retailers worldwide, Sony has revealed
@ianinthefuture Translation: “We figured we can buy opinions of YouTubers so they’ll still get things early”
@chrisslight Ouch, thanks for making the review process of your games much harder @bethesda.
Ian Dransfield, Lick PR Tuesday, October 25th
Chris Slight, freelance TV presenter Wednesday, October 26th
TURTLE ROCK WON’T SUPPORT EVOLVE ANY MORE
SWERY65 RETIRES FROM ACCESS GAMES
Developer Turtle Rock has stopped working on Evolve. The title recently went free-to-play but, after working on Evolve for five years, the studio now wants to focus on other projects.
Development legend Hidetaka ‘Swery65’ Suehiro has retired from Access Games, after spending one year off from working due to ill health. He said his health condition has got better though.
@ODDERZinnit This is a shame, Evolve really deserved better than this. Shame about the awful launch.
The upcoming Nintendo Switch features a 6.2 inch touch screen that can output at 720p
Nintendo made a $57.1m loss during the last quarter and had to re-evaluate its projected profit forecast for the rest of the year
For the first time in 15 years, Apple’s profits have fallen, as there was a 8 per cent drop in sales over the last year
@second_truth Good luck Swery in what you do next and get well --
Dave Aubrey, freelance journalist Wednesday, October 26th
Amanda Lange, Microsoft Monday, October 31st
@VG_Dave Evolve has been... left for dead
@Toadsanime It seems that Swery65 has retired. The best of luck to him.
David Scammell, VideoGamer Tuesday, October 25th
VR firm Oculus is growing and now has around 100 open positions accross the globe
Ryan Brown, Daily Mirror Monday, October 31st
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 SEGA’S CRICKET CHALLENGE ..................
.................................................... PLAY YOUR PART BECOME A MEMBER AMBASSADOR TRUSTEE WWW.GAMESAID.ORG
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Sonic publisher Sega once again held its Cricket Challenge at Kew Green. This time, more than 40 industry veterans gathered to play cricket, with teachers and students from charity Action For Kids coming to watch. £2,000 was raised for GamesAid.
GOLDEN JOYSTICKS GAMESAID TENNER ..................
GamesAid will be collecting money at the Golden Joystick Awards. Envelopes will be left on tables, with attendees being asked to donate £10 each. The 34th Golden Joysticks take place on Friday, November 18th at the Indigo2. 05
GAMESAID RAISES £954,000 FOR CHARITY ..................
UK games industry charity GamesAid raised a massive £954,000 in the last year. This was shared between ten different organisations, who each walked away with £95,400. Over nine years, GamesAid has raised £2.7m. November 4th 2016
Develop hires new editor Jem Alexander joins from Riot Games l HTC lands new community manager l Yogscast bolsters Xbox On NEWBAY MEDIA | MCV’s sister title Develop has appointed JEM ALEXANDER as editor, joining from Riot Games. He spent nine months at the studio as an eSports writer and has recently worked as a freelance PR and journalist. He previously worked at Square Enix as PR and community manager, at Future Publishing as acting online editor of OXM, at Sony as social media manager and at Joystiq as a games journalist. Alexander stated: “I’m thrilled to be taking the helm at Develop. It’s an opportunity to take a franchise with a rich, respected history in the industry and,
alongside a new editorial team, continue its evolution to best reflect the constantly changing world of development. I’m looking forward to being able to delve deeply into the supertechnical nitty gritty of games and picking the brains of some of my favourite developers.” He will be working alongside SEAN CLEAVER, the newly appointed deputy editor.
handling the social output in the EMEA region. He previously spent eight years working across all areas of global community for the Total War series at Creative Assembly. Laycock said: “The Vive headset is insanely good and the team here are working on some incredibly exciting things. I’m so happy to be a part of it and can’t wait to get stuck in.”
HTC | Creative Assembly’s CRAIG LAYCOCK has joined HTC Vive as EMEA community marketing manager. He will be working across Europe on Vive VR community management and will be
YOGSCAST | Following the relaunch of Xbox’s official UK channel, Xbox On, Yogscast has strengthened its team. ADRIAN RUIZ-LANGAN has been promoted to lead editor and head of post-production. He
has been working at the Yogscast since 2013 as video and audio editor, joining from Phoenix Audio where he was dubbing editor. YouTuber and former Call of Duty pro BENNYCENTRAL (top, left) has also joined as co-presenter alongside Ginx TV presenter LYDIA ELLERY (middle, left). They will all be working under the editorial direction of editor-in-chief MATTHEW CASTLE (bottom, left), who was appointed earlier this year.
Distributed by IT World Services TEL: +44 (0)17538 21122 EMAIL: email@example.com
©2016 Mimoco, Inc. All rights reserved. November 4th 2016
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WEEKLY SALES CHARTS
WEEKLY CHARTS BATTLEFIELD 1 kept its first place despite strong challengers this week. EA’s title saw its sales decrease 39 per cent - which is actually superior to both Battlefield 3 & 4, which both saw a 54 per cent decline during their second weeks. Bethesda’s Skyrim Special Edition debuted at No.2 and stole FIFA 17’s spot, which has fallen down to No.3 with a six per cent dip in sales. Titanfall 2 entered the charts at No.4 but didn’t match the Week One sales of its predecessor, which debuted at top spot. There were five other new entries in the charts: Farming Simulator
17 placed well at No.5, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 at No.7, World of Final Fantasy at No.11, Just Dance 2017 at No.26 and the complete collection of Minecraft: Story Mode at No.31. Over on Steam, Civilization VI remained the top game this week. 2K’s title however disappeared from the physical charts - it was previously No.15. Elsewhere, Plants vs Zombies Heroes, a card-battling twist on EA’s popular franchise, has taken the top spot in the iPad free games charts. It debuted at No.3 in the free iPhone rankings as FIFA Mobile Football managed to keep its No.1 spot.
GLOBAL STEAM CHARTS (UNITS)
01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09
LW RE NEW 06 03 NEW RE NEW NEW
SID MEIER’S CIVILIZATION VI DEVELOPER: FIRAXIS PUBLISHER: 2K GAMES
TITLE PUBLISHER Grand Theft Auto V Rockstar Farming Simulator 17 Focus Home Interactive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Valve Football Manager 2017 Sega Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 (P) Bandai Namco Dark Souls III Season Pass Bandai Namco Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Deluxe Edition (P) Bandai Namco My Summer Car Amistech Games
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 NEW 02 NEW NEW 03 NEW 04 09 08 NEW 06 05 07 10 14 13 11 12 17 23 20 16 25 32 NEW 22 29 24 26 NEW 37 28 27 18 19 36 RE 30 38
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Title Format Publisher Battlefield 1 PS4, XO, PC EA The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition PS4, XO Bethesda FIFA 17 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC EA Titanfall 2 PS4, XO, PC EA Farming Simulator 17 PS4, XO, PC Focus Home Interactive Mafia III PS4, XO, PC 2K Games Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 PS4, XO, PC Bandai Namco Gears of War 4 XO Microsoft Grand Theft Auto V PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Rockstar Forza Horizon 3 XO Microsoft World of Final Fantasy PS4, Vita Square Enix WWE 2K17 PS4, XO, PS3, 360 2K Games Batman: Return to Arkham PS4, XO Warner Bros Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration PS4, PC Square Enix Minecraft: Xbox Edition XO, 360 Microsoft Overwatch PS4, XO, PC Blizzard Rocket League PS4, XO 505 Games Star Wars Battlefront PS4, XO, PC EA Skylanders Imaginators PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360 Activision Fallout 4 PS4, XO, PC Bethesda Minecraft: PlayStation Edition PS4, PS3, Vita Sony LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens PS4, XO, PS3, 360, Wii U, 3DS, Vita Warner Bros Destiny: The Collection PS4, XO Activision Guitar Hero Live PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360 Activision Halo 5: Guardians XO Microsoft Just Dance 2017 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, Wii U, Wii, PC Ubisoft Call of Duty: Black Ops III PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Activision PlayStation VR Worlds PS4 Sony LEGO Jurassic World PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita Warner Bros LEGO Marvel’s Avengers PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita Warner Bros Minecraft: Story Mode - Complete Adventure PS4, XO, PS3, 360 Telltale NBA 2K17 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC 2K Games Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Konami BioShock: The Collection PS4, XO 2K Games LEGO Dimensions PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360 Warner Bros LEGO Harry Potter Collection PS4 Warner Bros Doom PS4, XO, PC Bethesda F1 2016 PS4, XO, PC Codemasters Tom Clancy’s The Division PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft Tomodachi Life 3DS Nintendo
Source: Steam, Period: October 24th to October 30th November 4th 2016
Source: UKIE/GfK Entertainment, Period: Week ending October 29th 08
WEEKLY SALES CHARTS
UK IPAD PAID
01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
LW 03 NEW NEW 07 RE 04 RE 10 06
UK IPHONE PAID
MINECRAFT: POCKET EDITION DEVELOPER: MOJANG
Title Tipping Point The Curio Society: New Order Amaranthine Voyage: The Orb of Purity Terraria Mini Metro Youtubers Life Plague Inc. Five Nights at Freddy’s The Chase
TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
Developer Barnstorm Games Big Fish Big Fish 505 Games Dinosaur Polo Club U-Play Online Ndemic Creations Scott Cawthon Barnstorm Games
LW 04 06 02 05 07 RE 09 RE 03
Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: October 17th – October 23rd
MINECRAFT: POCKET EDITION DEVELOPER: MOJANG
Title Heads Up! Plague Inc. Pumped BMX 3 The Chase Bloons TD 5 Tipping Point Monopoly Game Storage Hunters UK: The Game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: October 17th – October 23rd
UK IPAD GROSSING (REVENUE)
UK IPHONE GROSSING (REVENUE)
TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
LW 03 05 02 04 06 07 08 09 RE
CANDY CRUSH SAGA DEVELOPER: KING
Title Clash of Clans Mobile Strike Game of War - Fire Age Candy Crush Soda Saga Clash Royale Gardenscapes - New Acres Gummy Drop! Hay Day Township
TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
Developer Supercell Epic War Machine Zone King Supercell Playrix Big Fish Supercell Playrix
LW 02 05 04 06 03 07 09 08 RE
Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: October 17th – October 23rd
POKÉMON GO DEVELOPER: NIANTIC
Title Clash of Clans Candy Crush Saga Mobile Strike Clash Royale Game of War - Fire Age Candy Crush Soda Saga Episode - Choose Your Story, feat. Mean Girls 8 Ball Pool Marvel Contest of Champions
UK IPHONE FREE (UNITS)
LW 01 02 04 RE 07 RE 05 03 RE
PLANTS VS ZOMBIES HEROES DEVELOPER: ELECTRONIC ARTS
Title FIFA Mobile Football Block! Hexa Puzzle Pineapple Pen Best Fiends Forever Rolling Sky Drive Ahead! Sports Bottle Flip 2k16 PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator Flippy Bottle Extreme! - Hardest Flip Bottle 2K16
TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
Developer EA BitMango Ketchapp Seriously Cheetah Technology Dodreams Aidan Sabourin Outerminds Derrick Mapagu
Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: October 17th – October 23rd www.mcvuk.com
08 09 MCV899 Weekly Charts_V5.indd 2
Developer Supercell King Epic War Supercell Machine Zone King Episode Interactive Miniclip.com Kabam
Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: October 17th – October 23rd
UK IPAD FREE (UNITS)
TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
Developer Warner Bros Ndemic Creations Yeah Us! Barnstorm Games Ninja Kiwi Barnstorm Games EA UKTV Interactive Rockstar
LW 02 NEW 03 RE 08 NEW NEW 06 07
FIFA MOBILE FOOTBALL DEVELOPER: ELECTRONIC ARTS
Title Pineapple Pen Plants vs Zombies Heroes Block! Hexa Puzzle Best Fiends Forever Flippy Bottle Extreme! - Hardest Flip Bottle 2K16 Smile Inc. Flippy Bottle Extreme! - Hardest Flip Bottle 2K16 Rolling Sky Hop
Developer Ketchapp EA BitMango Seriously Derrick Mapagu Super Lame Games Derrick Mapagu Cheetah Technology Ketchapp
Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: October 17th – October 23rd 09
November 4th 2016
How YouTube personalities can push your product YouTube is changing the games media landscape – you need to adjust your marketing strategies accordingly, says uChannel Management’s director SAM BARKAWAY
The act of watching someone else playing a game for pleasure, might seem alien to anyone over the age of 24, but it’s second nature to the gamers of tomorrow. AGE OF EXPANSION YouTube is turning into ‘mainstream’ TV for the modern age, putting out content for all age ranges. While, the main demographic for watching games broadcasts on YouTube is six-to-24 year-olds, there’s still a sizable audience up to 28 years. That’s a lot of gamers, with a lot of cash to spend. What’s more, I’ve been working closely with YouTubers on marketing campaigns for years and, quite frankly, it’s one of the most engaging and transparent advertising platforms available. Having an influencer promote your brand is one of the most trusted forms of advertising, viewers really respect their opinion. As well as this, running userfriendly and innovative ad creative around the video content results in campaigns pushing a lot of traffic towards the brand, building trust with the new user base.
f you’ve been reading the marketing press over the last 12 months, you’ll find no shortage of commentators talking about the importance of tapping into ‘influencers’ – delivering commercial messages or endorsements via trusted personalities on social media. These articles are littered with words like ‘millennials’ and more often than not the chosen medium for delivery is YouTube. And that makes things very interesting if you’re a games publisher. If you’re not setting aside budget to work with influencers as part of your campaign planning, then you’re missing a trick. At a very basic level, the games media landscape is changing – while there will always be a place for display ads on websites and magazines, increasing numbers of consumers are making their purchasing decisions based on what they see on social media. But even here the sands are shifting. Facebook long ago throttled back the organic reach of brand page posts, while recent changes to Twitter’s feed algorithms have nudged business users towards paid campaigns. And then we have YouTube where, for this industry, video game broadcasters are the new superstars of our age – the guys that seven-year-olds worship.
November 4th 2016
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Traditional display ad clickthrough rates have plateaued at 0.5 per cent; 20 per cent of users click a YouTube ad. Sam Barkaway, uChannel Management
YouTubers such as Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg influence the purchasing decisions of millions
Statistically speaking, ‘traditional’ display advertising clickthrough rates have plateaued at 0.5 per cent, but YouTube campaigns I’ve worked at uChannel have seen a staggering 20 per cent of users going on to click an ad. YouTube isn’t just about the ads though – it’s about the personalities. Give a YouTube influencer an energy drink and watch its sales go through the roof. I’ve been blown away with the impact they can have on consumers buying decisions. Put simply, short videos and images on YouTube relate brand messages very well – particularly if the content is fun and non-intrusive. It’s a two-way street, of course. The opportunity is there, but as a brand it’s crucial to find the right influencers. And the YouTuber certainly doesn’t want to negatively impact his or her reputation by partnering with a brand or product that isn’t right for them. Spend time with a trusted partner to get your influencer strategy right – having activated such campaigns across the games, tech and eSports sectors, the extremely high re-booking rates we’ve seen are testament to a well-researched approach. The games media influencers of the future are building audiences of millions right now on YouTube and Snapchat – make sure that you’re working with them today. Sam Barkaway will be participating in the games media influencers panel at the Future Games Summit, on November 23rd & 24th. For more information and tickets, visit www. futuregamessummit.com.
UK eSports is booming but mustn’t forget its grassroots ESL UK co-managing director JAMES DEAN discusses what lessons we can learn from the past failures of eSports in the UK and why it’s important not to forget them
016 has been a massive year for eSports. With TV production companies all over the world finally committing to coverage, eSports is moving ever closer to wider acceptance. When you couple this with record viewing figures, it’s tempting to think we’re approaching a golden era of recognition for the sector. That well may be, but it’s something we can only achieve if we learn from former mistakes and continue to focus support on the grassroots elements of the eSports scene. Historically, the UK led when it came to eSports. Around the year 2000, the country was poised to blaze a trail for other European nations to follow – unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. A big contributor was the failure of the Championship Gaming Series - an international televised eSports league. Following its formation, Counter-Strike teams had been acquired, salaried and flown all over the world. When it crashed and burned, however, the teams became somewhat bitter – they were reluctant to put in so much time training going forward, especially when competing for lower prize pots than those that had been around previously. As a result, it’s almost like we’ve skipped
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a generation of eSports and only now are people starting to take it seriously again. Which is why it’s so important to learn the lessons of the past. CGS failed because it tried to grow too fast – over the last three years we’ve been working hard to establish the ESL UK Premiership on the two tenets of stability and sustainability. We advance with caution; we may not be as glamorous as what other countries have, but we’re building for the long-term. Unequivocally, that’s something the UK can be very proud of in terms of the eSports scene.
CS:GO is one of the four titles supported by ESL UK Premiership
CGS failed because it tried to grow too fast. We’re building the ESL UK Premiership for the long-term. James Dean, ESL UK
FROM AMBITION TO CAREER We started out with League of Legends and CS:GO in the Premiership; today, we have four titles, with Overwatch and Hearthstone joining the ranks. The ESL UK Premiership also aims to cure the skills gap that’s a hangover of our years in the wilderness. In some titles, current UK teams would be trounced by highly-skilled squads overseas. It means they can never achieve anything globally, can never excel and can really struggle to get their careers off the ground. It’s clear that for UK eSports to continue to grow this can’t be the case - talent needs to be identified,
nurtured and protected. By offering this UK-only crucible for teams, players come in as amateurs, go through as a semi-pros and emerge as serious professionals. You can see the embryo of it now with [eSports team] Misfits, who qualified for the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) eventually, though the players did split into different teams. It’s a first iteration of this function of the Premiership bearing fruit. It offers a concrete path for those who want to take eSports from ambition to career. At the moment, we’re only seeing individual players making it rather than entire teams – but that has to be the next step. It’s on all of us to keep this growth going, and there’s a number of ways to do it, such as bringing megaevents to the UK, so players can see LCS at Wembley, or the ESL Pro League at the O2. That alone gets attention and creates aspiration for players, and then we provide an avenue to make it a reality for them. The bright lights and big names are starting to beckon to the UK eSports scene – but let’s not lose sight of what’s important.
November 4th 2016
Meeting the games industry’s most hated company After a few months of pretty damning negative PR, online marketplace G2A is attempting to win over both customers and developers. Alex Calvin meets CEO Bartosz Skwarczek
espite what CEO Bartosz Skwarczek tells MCV when we sit down for our interview, the last twelve months have not been overly positive for codes marketplace G2A. In October 2015, League of Legends maker Riot asked teams sponsored by the retailer to remove its branding from their shirts and merchandise. This was due to G2A selling accounts for the MOBA, as well as boosting packs – both banned by Riot’s terms and conditions. That was before indie publisher TinyBuild accused G2A of costing it more than $450,000 due to what CEO Alex Nichiporchik described as a ‘fraud economy’. G2A was allegedly hosting auctions for codes bought with stolen credit cards, meaning TinyBuild didn’t see a single penny from these sales. G2A denied this, but nevertheless announced new measures to make its marketplace more secure and beneficial for developers whose games were being sold there. FAIR SHARE? First, it launched G2A Direct, a way of courting game developers. This is in response to the studios complaining that they were not making money off third-party sellers. As a part of Direct, firstparty sellers were given priority on searches, and developers can apply for ten per cent of revenue generated from third-party sales. If what Skwarczek says is true, these measures have been met
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with a positive reception from the development community. “In the first three weeks of G2A Direct we had 700 applications [for payment] from developers,” he says. “Right now we are in the analysing stage of the process. We are surprised that the reception has been so good. We also received many testimonials from some partners. There are companies like 551 and Chernobyl that we are working with. We had to grow our department for co-operating with developers. It’s great.”
CEO Skwarczek wants G2A to be the ‘most secure marketplace to buy and sell games’
product. This is how G2A works. Every day we are looking for new solutions like G2A Direct.”
GETTING TO KNOW YOU Furthermore, G2A is looking to improve its relationship with the development community. “We want developers to be a part of the marketplace ecosystem,” Skwarczek says. “When we started G2A, we wanted to work with developers, but they didn’t want to work with us. After that, we created a marketplace, we opened for the customers and we created a marketplace with 10m users. Now I think is the time to bring it altogether. “Developers are happy because of customers and customers are happy because there’s more content. There’s one important thing there – the more sellers we have on our marketplace, the more competition there is. And competition is good. Because end users receive the better
We have more than 100 factors that we are checking on all the auctions. This is a 100 per cent legitimate business. Bartosz Skwarczek, G2A
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY The other part of G2A’s charm offensive is seller verification. One of the major criticisms the marketplace has faced was that codes sold on its retail platform from third-parties had been bought using stolen credit cards. Thus it has upped its requirements for people to be able to sell games on G2A. One of these requirements was verification via social media platforms – namely Facebook or Russian social network VK – to prove that sellers are in fact real. On the face of it, this hardly seems like an ironclad security measure given that literally anyone can set up a Facebook profile. “To understand the process of verification, you must understand what the business model looks like,” Skwarczek says.
Punch Club publisher TinyBuild says G2A cost them $450,000
“We do verification on a few levels. We verify every auction that is coming. We have more than 100 factors that we are checking on all the auctions. If any auction appears suspicious, strange or different – the price is too low or the region isn’t good, then we go deeper in to verifying it. Sometimes, very often, we ask for additional information from the seller, like purchase proof, an invoice or where they bought the code from. That’s the first part. “The second part is the customer. When they want to buy the product, we verify how they do it. So we eliminate stolen credit cards for instance. We verify, again, by more than 100 factors, to be completely sure that the customer is doing the right thing, that they are not a fraud. The next level is when the seller is selling something, and receiving money from customers, they must take money out from the ecosystem. Then we verify them again. If someone is a big seller, it’s very important. “If you are a seller, let’s say, a wholesaler, then the process to verify you is very extensive with.
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its public image. Its negative reputation was starting to catch up with it, to the point that MCV knows that at least one UK PR agency has refused to take its business in the last few months. “Let’s start from the beginning. This is a 100 per cent legitimate business,” Skwarczek insists. “We work with top companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers or Deloittes to be sure that everything we do is compliant. That’s one thing. Our ambitions are pretty simple. We just want to create the most secure and the most user-friendly marketplace ecosystem to sell and buy digital products. This is why we are implementing new secure solutions, this is why we are verifying over 100 factors, this is why we work with the best providers in the world when it comes to security. If you go to our website, you see testimonials from companies Bartosz Skwarczek, G2A like Paypal because they verify their stats and see how secure it is. We want to create the most secure, the most user friendly marketplace ecosystem to buy and sell digital games.”
We check not only your website, your purchase history, your ID, your company documents, but also things related to your behaviour on the market. All these things, we verify with the seller who wants to take the money out of the marketplace. With regards to pre-verification, if you want to set up an account, then you have to give your telephone number and Facebook profile. Okay, let’s assume that someone has a fake profile with a few friends from a strange country or something. That’s a signal for us to look deeper at the person. If they have a decent Facebook profile, maybe 1,000 friends, and it maybe looks real – you can easily verify that. This is a trigger for us to go deeper into the verification process. If you want to sell more than ten items – which could be dangerous – we automatically ask them to provide us with proof of product.”
We want developers to be a part of the marketplace ecosystem.
GOING CLEAN Through this interview it’s apparent that while G2A believes it is doing nothing wrong, it is nevertheless keen to clear up
November 4th 2016
Breaking the Law The latest entry in the thriving team-shooter genre is Lawbreakers, the product of Gears of War developer Cliff Bleszinski’s new outfit, Boss Key. Alex Calvin speaks to lead designer Dan Nanni to find out more
016 has been the year of many things. It’s when virtual reality took off; when Pokémon Go briefly changed how society functioned and when video game films suddenly became ‘a thing’ once more. But it’s also been the year where the team shooter genre took off again. Perhaps inspired by the success of Valve’s Team Fortress 2, a number of multiplayer titles in this vein have launched in the last few months. We started with Gearbox’s Battleborn in March, before Blizzard’s behemoth Overwatch launched in May. Meanwhile on the horizon is Hi-Rez’s Paladins and Epic’s Paragon. Then there’s LawBreakers, which is coming courtesy of Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski’s new studio, Boss Key. “The games industry works just like every other industry,” lead designer Dan Nanni says when asked about the wealth of team shooters hitting the market. “You’re going to notice a glut of zombie movies, and then another of space exploration films. It just so happens that a lot of us creative people are thinking on
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the same wavelength. We all work for different companies, we all think about things. A movie comes out and makes us think about something. When we were working on it, this wasn’t a big part of the industry; the same applies to Blizzard, Gearbox and the rest. Then everyone started announcing, we all had that moment where we realise the industry is much smaller than we think it is. That’s what it is. “A lot of us have been playing multiplayer games for a long time and realise that there’s a gap in the market. It’s very popular – people want to play multiplayer and have a lot of time to do so, so we thought: ‘let’s give them a game that’s all about playing online’ – a very specialised game that was built only for that.”
After a good amount of thought, we decided to give LawBreakers a premium price point. That way we don’t disjoint our users or force them into buying DLC.
GRAVITY OF THE SITUATION In a crowded market, you have to have something that sets you apart from the rest. For LawBreakers, it features more vertical combat due to levels featuring areas with no gravity. “Going through gravity, not just walking around but flying around
Dan Nanni, Boss Key
and fighting in the skies is definitely a big differentiator,” Nanni explains. “It also comes down to the way our game is played. The abilities, the roles themselves and the style we built them in is not a hard ‘rockpaper-scissors’ style, where one class automatically beats another. We wanted to treat it more along the lines of a football match where every player on the field is capable of scoring a goal, but they’re just better at doing some things than others. That’s the main thing. We wanted everyone to be heroic. There’s nothing stopping a central defender from scoring three goals in a match – it can happen. That’s a heroic moment. That’s what we wanted – we wanted those heroic moments to exist.” Back when it was known by the codename ‘Project BlueStreak’, LawBreakers was going to be a free-to-play game. This changed last March, with Boss Key switching for a premium business model. “When we started back in 2014, we were working on the core loop of the game and trying to make that loads of fun,” Nanni says. “We’d then stop every once in a while and evaluate how we could
mix free-to-play mechanics into it. It ended up adding a load of artificial walls or the thoughts of random number generators and always fought against the idea that it needs to be highly competitive. There can’t be a pay-to-win mechanic, there can’t be a grind mechanic, people have to be able to access the same exact content at the exact same time. “After giving it a good amount of thought, we realised it probably made more sense to give it a premium price. That way, we don’t disjoint our users, we don’t force them into DLC purchases where some people have maps and others don’t. No, you pay one price to entry, get maps and game modes at the same time. Everyone is always playing at an even field.” PC CULTURE Unlike its rivals in the nowbooming team shooter sector, LawBreakers is also a PC-exclusive – for now. “As a small team, having worked on multiple platforms before, you always have to take people out of your development cycle to
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The game is set for release this year, with some rather high expectations. After all, LawBreakers is the latest game from Cliff Bleszinski, and in the past the developer has made some stone cold classics in the Gears of War and Unreal series. Nanni says that the team is under pressure but that the studio has realistic expectations for the release. “All of us feel pressure simply because we are all dedicated to the project,” he says. “We love it. It’s a baby for all of us. We have seen from the very beginning when there wasn’t really a studio to a full game. We want to see it succeed. We’ve all worked for big companies before and we’re used to the idea of pressure and success. We also need to temper ourselves with realistic expectations. We’re a smaller studio, we’re not really looking to go out there and sell 10m copies. “We’re just launching on PC so that the game is appropriate for the market we’re reaching. Hopefully it’s a fun competitive experience that people will have and it’ll grow over time.”
focus on other platforms,” Nanni explains. “We’d be able to reach more people, but let’s make a really good game for one platform first and then once we have that nailed, then we’ll start thinking about moving it over to other platforms. We’d love to bring it to consoles, as long as the game does well enough and thus warrants doing so.” Being PC-exclusive and a multiplayer-focused title, LawBreakers seems a prime candidate for eSports. But Nanni feels that this is something that the community has to ask for rather than something that Boss Key should implement initially. “We definitely would love the pursue the eSports route,” he says. “Having worked on games that wanted to do eSports before, it makes sense. Our players say we’re ready to be an eSport. We’re going to make a competitive game, we’re going to give them competitive mechanics and we’re going to support that community. The moment our players ask us to make it an eSport, we have done our homework and we’re ready to support that.”
November 4thr 2016
THE BIG GAME NIOH
THE BIG GAME
When Dark Souls met Ninja Gaiden Nioh has been in development for more than ten years, and is finally set to hit shelves at the start of 2017. Alex Calvin talks to director Fumihiko Yasuda to find out about what could be the next big title for masochistic gamers
Release Date: February 9th Formats: PS4 Publisher: Koei Tecmo Developer: Team Ninja
016 is seeing the release of several much-awaited and long in development titles. This month sees Final Fantasy XV – originally announced in 2006 as Final Fantasy XIII Versus – while The Last Guardian, which began development in 2007, is set to hit shelves in December. But the start of 2017 is seeing the release of Koei Tecmo’s Nioh, a title that has been in development since 2004. Originally it was to be based
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on an unfinished script from Akira Kurosawa called Oni, but missed its summer 2006 release date. The title all but disappeared from the public gaze until it resurfaced at 2015’s Tokyo Game Show. “There was a strong desire from Koei founder and Nioh’s general producer, Kou Shibusawa, to ‘complete the mission of creating Nioh’ over the past 10 years,“ the game’s director Fumihiko Yasuda says. “With the presence of massocore [portmanteau of
Nioh’s idea has remained the same throughout development.
’masochism’ and ‘hardcore’] games growing in the market, he was determined to continue the development of Nioh with Team Ninja, who have experience in entertaining core gamers worldwide, and have the capability of taking on Nioh’s challenging game concept.”
Fumihiko Yasuda, Team Ninja KNOW YOUR ROOTS
Yasuda says that though the game has been in development for over ten years and some aspects of
NIOH THE BIG GAME
the game have changed, much of Nioh has remained constant since its 2004 beginnings. “The concept and plot of the game, was to have a blonde haired, blue eyed protagonist (based upon the historical figure William Adams) playing a role in the Warring States era of Japan,” he says. “This has remained the same throughout development and Team Ninja has fleshed out the game by adding the samurai action and including yokai [Japanese demons] as enemies.”
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The project has now taken on a very Dark Souls-esque style of gameplay with slow and punishing swordplay. But Yasuda insists that the game has its own identity. “Nioh’s protagonist is a samurai, and the title is an action-centric game with a unique approach to combat which fuses strategic attacks with hack-and-slash elements,” he says. “These hack-and-slash elements will differ depending on the weapon used, such as
katanas and spears, or the equipped items, such as the type of armour.” A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE One of the most interesting aspects of Nioh’s gameplay is the graphical options available to players. Consumers can choose between a higher frame rate with lower graphical resolution, and a lower frame rate with higher graphical fidelity. “The biggest reasoning for this is that Nioh is an action Fumihiko Yasuda, Team Ninja RPG,” Yasuda explains.
We wanted to secure the quality met the feedback of our worldwide players from the alpha and beta demos.
November 4th 2016
THE BIG GAME NIOH
Nioh will launch in February 2017
“If the player wants a quick response, then they should choose ‘Action Mode’ as this enables the game to run at 60fps whereas if the player wishes to enjoy higher graphics then they can select ‘Graphic Mode’ to display the game in high resolution. “These modes were implemented to provide players with control over their visual preference, something which we see in PC games but rarely in console games. We were glad to hear that this was well received among players through demos.” Yasuda continues, saying that these different modes will not affect the overall balance of gameplay: “Both modes have their advantages and disadvantages, but this does not mean one is superior to the other, the default setting for all players will be set to ‘Action Mode’.” TESTING TIMES Team Ninja has also held a series of alpha and beta tests for Nioh. “Since the initial
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feedback to bring the title to completion with care.”
announcement in 2004, we have kept players waiting, and we wanted to provide an opportunity for them to play the game as early as possible,” Yasuda says. “We were also interested to know if our development was moving in the right direction, and how well the title would be received as it is a brand new IP. These are the reasons we released the demos online, as it allowed direct feedback from players and, as a result, we saw very positive responses from our audience, particularly in the West.” He continues: “We are happy with the results of the beta demo which are positive overall, especially on the improvements we had worked on from the alpha demo’s feedback. “In spite of the beta having greater volume and systems than the alpha, the majority of the players played the demo till the end, which was a pleasant surprise. We learnt the difference of increasing difficulty through simple and artificial means, and we intend to improve upon this
Nioh is a tough game which we strongly recommend to those who love challenging titles. Fumihiko Yasuda, Team Ninja
ALL IN GOOD TIME Nioh is now launching in February 2017 following a final, small delay from October 2016. Development is currently on schedule, but Yasuda wanted the additional time to respond to the feedback from the demos and ensure the game was of the highest quality. He also stressed that: “The quality of localisation was also very important as we wanted to launch the game at the same time worldwide.” Surprisingly, Yasuda says that although the game has a high difficulty, he believes Nioh will appeal to a wide audience. “Nioh is a tough game which we strongly recommend to those who love challenging games,” he says. “For players who aren’t as keen on challenging games, they will feel the satisfaction and achievement of defeating strong enemies and improving their skills, making it worth the challenge.”
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Rise of the tyrants Pillars of Eternity allowed Obsidian to come back from the dead – with its new RPG Tyranny, the studio now wants to prove its alive and well, all while re-establishing the genre. Marie Dealessandri talks to game director Brian Heins to find out more
n Tyranny, you don’t fight the bad guys – you are the bad guys. Yes, you can choose the ‘evil’ option in many RPGs but you still follow the same core quest as someone trying to right all the wrongs in the world. Obsidian’s new IP Tyranny is just the opposite, with evil being the default option that drives the campaign. “The main idea of Tyranny is that the game is set in a world where evil won,” game director Brian Heins explains. “You take on the role of a Fatebinder, an agent of the evil Overlord charged with enforcing the Empire’s Laws. You decide the fate of thousands over the course of the game, and whether you remain loyal to Kyros or try to forge a resistance to the Overlord’s rule.” That’s quite a big change for the genre, especially coming from a studio formed partly from Black Isle developers – the very studio that created Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale, helping set the formula for the whole genre ever since. “Tyranny is a single-player RPG in the style of classics like Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale, and uses the same engine we created for Pillars of Eternity,” Heins continues. Despite that, Tyranny is all about defying those standards and actually giving a more balanced view of who we traditionally label as ‘evil’. “I’ve always been a little dissatisfied with playing an evil character in games,” Heins tells MCV. “Too often the ‘evil’ choice is to play a complete psychopath who kills everyone ‘because evil’. Depending on the game that can be a lot of fun. It just shouldn’t be the only evil option available.”
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Obsidian’s Tyranny is set in a world where evil has won
He continues: “The idea for Tyranny has existed at Obsidian for many years, and has gone through several different iterations. That core concept about creating a game in a world where evil has won has stuck around because it resonated with so many of us. “The great thing about this game is that we can really focus on making choices that allow the player to be different shades of evil, not just the bloodthirsty killer. Being able to explore new types of stories and characters is what’s really made this a dream game for me to work on.”
Tyranny really focus on making choices that allow the player to be different shades of evil, not just bloodthirsty killer.
THE PATH OF THE DAMNED Obsidian has also found another way to challenge and reinvent the traditional RPG and explore new types of stories: it doesn’t use the traditional D&D-based
Brian Heins, Obsidian
class system. This means that if you want your character to be a spell-crafting thief that uses a two handed sword, you can. Of course, skill-based progression is not exactly new but it’s a radical change when your ancestors are classics such as Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dales – or even Pillars of Eternity. “As you perform actions in the game, your skills get better,” Heins explains. “When enough skills have improved, your character goes up in level – allowing you to improve attributes and gain new talents for your character.” “We made these changes for a couple of reasons. Mostly, this is the type of RPG that I love playing. Skill-based systems give you a chance to create the character that matches the role you want to play. I often find that when I’m playing a
Tyranny is launching on PC next week, on November 10th
class-based system, I really want to play the character that’s a hybrid of two or more classes. Skill-based systems allow me to make that character easily. “Another benefit of these changes is that they make Tyranny a different experience from Pillars of Eternity. We use the same engine, but have created two very distinct games.” Creating a game that would both feel different to Pillars of Eternity while living up to the legacy of Obsidian’s previous title is not a simple task. The Kickstarted hit saved the studio from closure in 2015 and it ended up amongst the happy few that sold over 500,000 copies on Steam last year. But it was also known for its difficulty, which is something Obsidian has been eager to change with Tyranny. The developer has introduced a difficulty setting, which could attract more players to the genre. “It allows players to tailor the challenge level to something they’re comfortable with, or matches what they want to get out of the experience,” Heins clarifies. “Our Story mode, the easiest difficulty setting, is for players who mainly want to see the different
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ways the game can react to them, without having to engage too deeply with the combat system. Our Normal and Hard modes are for players who enjoy combat as much as they enjoy the story elements. And the Path of the Damned option is for players who want to master the gameplay mechanics and brag to their friends about defeating the various bosses in the game on the hardest difficulty setting.” PARADOXICAL SUCCESS Tyranny is launching next week on PC, on November 10th, courtesy of Paradox – with whom Obsidian already partnered for Pillars of Eternity. “Paradox helped out with distribution for Pillars of Eternity, which was great for us because it allowed the team to focus on finishing the game without worrying about the marketing and sales aspects,” Heins explains. “When we were finalizing that deal, development on The Stick of Truth was wrapping up and we were talking with publishers about other game ideas. One of those was for what eventually became Tyranny. Paradox really liked the idea for the game, and since we already had a working relationship with them, it
There’s absolutely room for classic RPGs like Tyranny. There’s a vocal audience that loves these types of games. Brians Heins, Obsidian
made sense to move forward with them as publisher on Tyranny.” And in a PC market that can sometimes be a challenge due to the massive amount of titles available, Obsidian however remains optimistic for Tyranny – and the whole genre. “I think there’s absolutely room for classic RPGs like Tyranny,” Heins enthuses. “The success of Pillars of Eternity, Wasteland 2, and Divinity: Original Sin – just to name a few – have shown that there’s a vocal audience that loves these types of games and wants to play more of them. As a fan of this type of RPG for many years, I’m thrilled to be able to develop more of them.” Right now, Obsidian is working on different genres though, such as free-to-play shooter Armored Warfare and mobile card-based RPG Pathfinder Adventures. But the studio should be back soon with more old school isometric RPGs as CEO Feargus Urquhart already mentioned that they were working on a sequel to Pillars of Eternity. “We want to continue making the types of games that we love to play: RPGs that allow our players to explore unique worlds, and tell some incredible stories along the way,” Heins concludes.
November 4th 2016
INTERVIEW GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS
‘Record-breaking is now a very genuine part of games’ The 2017 version of the Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition just launched, right on time for Christmas. Editor Stephen Daultrey tells Marie Dealessandri why retailers should consider having the book on their shelves
It’s the 10th anniversary of the Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition this year. How have you been able to keep the book fresh each year? We’ve found all sorts of records through the years and I like to think they’re getting broader and stronger each year... and occasionally a little wackier too. That’s quite simple really, as the games industry is constantly evolving and expanding at a breakneck pace. Record-breaking is now a very genuine part of videogames. There is always some new innovation pushing gaming into exciting new realms, whether it’s technology such as VR, or a new streaming platform. In recent years, Twitch and YouTube have given rise to the first true celebrities who have made careers out of gaming. So you get all the broadcasting and fan-based records that come with that. Ali-A, for example, holds records for his Call of Duty YouTube channel, and he wrote a special guest foreword for this year’s book. The Gamer’s Edition has evolved over the ten years, the records are strong and appetite for content is keen. The price point is also pocket money friendly with young gamers able to self-purchase. How are the books performing sales-wise? Since its inception we’ve sold over five million Gamer’s Edition books worldwide. The English language version is sold in over 38 countries, with Norway and Sweden new this year, and there are now seven dedicated language editions. It’s a very exciting time.
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and there are many new games featured in a big way such as Rocket League, Star Citizen, The Division and Star Wars Battlefront.
YouTuber DanTDM was awarded the record for Most views for a dedicated Minecraft video channel
The appeal and awareness for the book is growing all the time. Last year was our strongest to date. The Gamer’s Edition 2016 spent 11 consecutive weeks inside the UK’s paperback non-fiction Top Ten chart, peaking at No.3. For the first time we released it at the same time as the Guinness World Records annual, and positioning them side by side in shops. The dual messaging was very strong, and this in turn made an impact on sales. What changes can we expect in the 2017 edition? The book has been structured differently, with a focus on genre and brand new chapters that we’ve never done before, such as eSports. Last year we created a special chapter on Minecraft, which was received very well. This time round we decided to celebrate the 30-plus year legacy of Star Wars games with its own dedicated 16-page section. I’d say that the book is about 80-to-85 per cent new or updated records,
Since its inception ten years ago, we’ve sold five million copies of Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition worldwide. Stephen Daultrey, Guinness World Records
What other trends had an impact on the 2017 edition? Definitely cosplay. It’s a huge, exciting subculture of gaming. In fact, the record that we’ve had the biggest response to from the new book is the Batman costume designed and built by the special effects whizz Julian Checkley, who was inspired by the Dark Knight from Batman Arkham Origins. Julian’s record was for ‘most functional gadgets on a cosplay suit’ - he spent several months loading up this incredible suit with tracking devices, fireball launchers and video screens... all sorts of genuinely technically impressive stuff. Indie games are also well represented, with titles such as Her Story, Surgeon Simulator 2013 and OlliOlli all enjoying starring roles. We even created some of our own record attempts in Rocket League, which were attempted live on-stage at Insomnia and Legends of Gaming, and those have made it into this year’s book. Digital gaming is another area we’ve really grabbed by the horns. For the 2017 edition, we’ve worked with research firm SuperData, whose data has enabled us to recognise the games that have been performing the best in the digital market, such as Call of Duty, League of Legends and Counter-Strike. The way we buy and play games has changed an awful lot in very recent times. That was something that we had to represent in the new book.
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Halo 5: Guardians. Image courtesy of Microsoft, 343 Industries.
Autodesk, the Autodesk logo, Maya and 3ds Max are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product and services offerings, and specifications and pricing at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document. © 2016 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.
INTERVIEW THUMPER - DROOL
INDIE INTERVIEW Rhythm is a nightmare After seven years in development, Drool’s ‘rhythm violence’ game Thumper has finally launched. Alex Calvin talks to developer Marc Flury about why he doesn’t see it as a rhythm title and why they brought it to PlayStation VR
ne of the most interesting rhythm games to hit the market in the recent memory is Thumper from two-man studio Drool. Rather than having consumers play along to pop and rock hits, like in Guitar Hero, Thumper has players hitting buttons sparingly to a soundtrack that can only be described as nightmarish and intense. Yet despite its gameplay, Drool doesn’t really view the game as a rhythm title: “It has a very different vibe to what people consider music games to be,” developer Marc Flury says. “It’s not about euphoria or the joy of playing music, it’s really a dark and intense experience. It really evolved over the years as we worked on it. It kept getting faster and we kept going deeper and deeper in a specific direction. "We started calling it a rhythm violence game, which is an effective marketing term. It’s something that’s memorable and gets people interested in the game. "Ultimately, when people play the game, I hope they don’t think of it as a rhythm game because it’s more of an action title that has its own weird logic. It’s not the same kind of experience as playing Rock Band or something.” OUT OF HARMONY With its music-focused rhythm gameplay, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Drool is formed of two former Harmonix developers. Thumper started life when Flury and his co-developer Brian Gibson were still at the Guitar Hero and Rock Band studio. “We started work on Thumper seven years ago,” Flury explains. “It was a side project for a long time. It was as much making a game as trying to become a better programmer and designer. "We worked at Harmonix for a long time, but the kinds of things we got to work on were limited in terms of range. For Thumper we built our own engine from scratch and ended up supporting PlayStation 4 and Windows PC. It was a huge learning experience and that was part of the reason it took so long.”
November 4th 2016
24 MCV899 Indie Interview_V4.indd 1
Thumper was originally pitched to Harmonix seven years ago, but the Guitar Hero and Rock Band developer wasn't interested
It’s not about euphoria or the joy of playing music. Thumper is really a dark and intense experience. Marc Flury, Drool
He continues: “Brian actually pitched it as a Harmonix project, but it was rejected. His original idea was this simple concept of having a rhythm game that’s really stripped down and simple.” The title launched in mid-October around the time of PlayStation VR, which is supported by the game. “When we started, VR technology was some fantasy,” Flury says. “It wasn’t really practical. A lot of it was us working on the game for a long time. We saw the amount of hype and money being put behind pushing VR as the next big thing. We figured we’d at least try. "To be honest, we didn’t have any high expectations. We thought the game might not work at all in VR, or we’d have to entirely redesign the game to support it. Sometimes your timing is just right. We had the right game at the right time and it worked really well in virtual reality. It certainly took a lot of work in terms of optimisation. We had to redesign the game, had to optimise the effects and presentation for VR. “The basic concept of Thumper translated so well to VR; it’s intense, it’s overwhelming but it doesn’t make people motion sick. We were pretty lucky to be honest.”
SAVE THE DATE! Festivities, fun and frolicking to be had at the Games Industry Christmas Party to kick-start the holiday seasonâ&#x20AC;Ś Come along and join industry friends and colleagues for a festive-themed evening!
06 December 16
Sway Bar, London
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SHELF LIFE Jamie-Lee Ross from Dumfries’ Games Centre discusses retro gaming and hardware mid-generation upgrades How has business been lately? Fine. Now we’re getting into Christmas so it’s going to be busier. What games have been selling particularly well recently? Recently, it’s been mainly Battlefield 1, Mafia III and Gears of War 4 in terms of new games but we’re still doing quite a lot of trade on older titles as well. Do you sell more titles on Xbox One or PS4?
number of pre-orders so it’s going to sell well.
It’s just a pretty even mix in Dumfries really between Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Concerning hardware, we have been selling more of the Xbox One S recently, and the new Slim PS4 as well. I think most people are waiting for the PS4 Pro to come out.
Do you sell retro games as well? Yes, and retro is actually selling really well at the moment. We’ve got a couple of NES retro consoles, and we have a large collection of different retro games, so I’m just waiting for people to trade more retro games so we can sell them.
What are your expectations for the Pro? By the looks of it, we have good expectations. It got a decent
PRICE CHECK: DUNFERMLINE
TOP 10 PRE-ORDERS 1. CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE LEGACY EDITION PS4, ACTIVISION 2. Final Fantasy XV Day 1 Edition Square Enix..........................................................PS4
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS III
3. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition Bethesda ...............................................................PS4 4. Nintendo Classic Mini Nintendo.................................................................N/A
9. The Last Guardian Sony.........................................................................PS4 10. Titanfall 2 (inc Nitro Scorch Pack) EA ................................................................................XO
THE TOMORROW CHILDREN
GINGER: BEYOND THE CRYSTAL
SPIDER: RITE OF THE SHROUDED MOON
The PS4 title launched in September and has just become free-to-play
This adventure platformer is now available digitally on PC and Xbox One
Tiger Style’s mobile hit has made the leap to PlayStation 4 and Vita
26 27 MCV899 Retail_V5.indd 1
8. Persona 5: Collectors Deep Silver...........................................................PS4
7. Horizon Zero Dawn Sony.........................................................................PS4
November 4th 2016
6. Nintendo Switch Console Nintendo.................................................................N/A
The latest digital releases coming to market
Activision Blizzard, XO
5. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Legacy Edition Activision Blizzard ...............................................XO
Games Centre Dumfries 10 Queensberry Street Dumfries Dumfrieshire DG1 1EX
Phone: 01387 270 954 Website: www.gamescentre.co.uk Email: email@example.com
What are your expectations for the end of the year? Just match all our targets and have a good year. The game I’m personally looking forward to is coming out next year, sadly: it’s For Honour. It’s out for Valentine’s day so that would be a nice present. Is there any game that’s coming out this year that you are looking forward to? I think Infinite Warfare might
sell well, and Skyrim is going to perform strongly. What about VR? Is PSVR selling well so far? Yes, we’ve sold out. Feedback has been great so far, it exceeds expectations. And what are your thoughts on the recently-revealed Switch? I already have a couple of preorders for that. I’m not a Nintendo fan but it does look like fun.
WANT TO FEATURE YOUR OUTLET IN MCV? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0203 889 4900
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is launching today, while the PlayStation 4 Pro is hitting shelves next Thursday, just before Bethesda’s Dishonored 2 FORMAT
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CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE
CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE As Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare finally hits shelves, Marie Dealessandri looks at some of the arsenal of merchandise launching alongside the shooter
t’s that time of the year: the latest Call of Duty launches today. As with every CoD, Infinite Warfare comes with its fair share of merchandise and guest stars. The latest names added to an already long list of cameos are Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and actor Danny McBride. They join racing champion Lewis Hamilton, 80s legend David Hasselhoff and Games of Thrones’ Kit Harington. The bar for success is high this year, as Infinite Warfare’s
The remaster of 2007’s Modern Warfare included with Infinite Warfare should contribute to its success.
predecessor, Black Ops III, was a huge success. No other Call of Duty has claimed as many No.1s in the UK as Black Ops III. In the US, 85 per cent of the PS4s sold during Q1 were sold with a copy of the title. What could contribute to Infinite Warfare’s success is the fact that it’s launching alongside a remastered version of fanfavourite Modern Warfare, which was initially released in 2007. Players who purchase Infinite Warfare’s Legacy Edition,
CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE SHIELD FOR XBOX ONE CONTROLLERS This Xbox One controller’s shield is part of Kontrol Freek’s extensive new Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare collection. There’s also a PS4 controller shield and various grips, thumbsticks and, well, everything a competitive Call of Duty player might need. SRP: £10.99 Manufacturer: Kontrol Freek Distributor: Lime Distribution Contact: 01622 845 161
CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE BACKPACK
CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE REVERSIBLE BEANIE
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Here’s an easy way for Call of Duty players to pack their gear and carry it into combat, should they want to.
Winter is definitely coming, but this reversible Call of Duty beanie should keep gamers warm during the cold months.
This unisex T-shirt is will be the perfect present for Call of Duty lovers this Christmas.
SRP: £39.99 Manufacturer: BWI Distributor: Gaming Merchandise UK Contact: email@example.com
SRP: £14.99 Manufacturer: BWI Distributor: Gaming Merchandise UK Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
SRP: $24.99 (£20) Manufacturer: Call of Duty Official Store Distributor: Spot Trot Contact: email@example.com
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CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE
gaming merchandise uk
Digital Deluxe Edition or Legacy Pro Edition will thus have the opportunity to enjoy the Modern Warfare experience on currentgen hardware for the first time. But Modern Warfare Remastered has brought some controversy to Call of Duty this year. Publisher Activision revealed in October that Infinite Warfare’s disc must be inserted to play Modern Warfare Remastered. This obviously only impacts the boxed Xbox One and PS4 versions but the statement
was enough to anger the fans hoping to buy the bundle only to play Modern Warfare and then sell on Infinite Warfare standalone. Another issue facing Call of Duty is the competition in the market. The title releases after EA’s double threat of Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1. But with the amount of accessories launching alongside Activision’s title, retailers shouldn’t worry, as merchandise is always a goos way to attract customers in this competitive market.
CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE COLLECTOR’S EDITION STRATEGY GUIDE Prima’s latest Call of Duty guide covers both Infinite Warfare and Modern Warfare Remastered. It also includes a developer’s handbook, which features interviews, artwork and behind-the-scenes exclusives and a flag for collectors to hang on their walls. SRP: £24.99 Manufacturer: Prima Games Distributor: DK Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE DOGTAGS
CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE S.C.A.R. MESSENGER BAG
CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE GLASS
This bundle includes three branded pendants, two short chains (11 cm) and one long ball chain (60 cm).
With its large main compartment, this CoD-themed messenger bag can hold just about anything.
Call of Duty players now have the perfect glass to stay hydrated during long gameplay sessions.
SRP: £9.99 Manufacturer: GB Eye Distributor: Gaming Merchandise UK Contact: email@example.com
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Tel: +44  1206 214421 http://opmjobs.com/ ........................................................................................................
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COMPANY PROFILE /
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ADDRESS: Remote Control Productions GmbH Karlstr. 68 80335 Munich Germany
REMOTE control productions (rcp) is an independent production house focusing on development and production of games and gaming applications, and leads Europe’s major developer family. Since 2005 the Munich-based company is supporting, financing and coaching start-ups and development studios. rcp is also participating in projects in the areas of serious games, gamification, conferences, education and lobbying. rcp has partnered up with and become co-owners of multiple development studios; the ever-expanding network consists of a dozen studios with different fields of expertise like mobile games, browser games, serious games or gamification applications. Thanks to the internal network and additional partners nationally and internationally, rcp has established itself as a credible, efficient and reliable production partner on more than 50 projects for PC, mobile, browser and console. Our work for hire, publishing and licensing partners include Rovio Entertainment, Deep Silver/Fishlabs, Ubisoft, ProSiebenSat.1 Games, Ravensburger Digital, Deutsche Telekom, Gamevil, RNTS Media, Chillingo, Volkswagen, spilgames, DeNA, Bigpoint, Intel, Audi and many more. Our biggest success so far has been Angry Birds Epic, which was developed by rcp family studio Chimera Entertainment and has to date been downloaded more than 60 million times worldwide. For more information please visit: http://www.r-control.de/ or https://www.facebook. com/remote.control.productions/
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believe PS4 will rule next year (above top),
Twist think virtual reality is doomedUKIE’s SuperData’s van Dreunen
(above middle) and Reﬂection’s Leksell (above)
ack are bdig Charts ital time, they’re And this UKIE signs partnerships for by Christopher Dring
ches charts section console data Q MCV re-laun mobile and digital demand more titles in 2016
will digital data, these measures able to GfK Chart-Track’s physical bring us closer to being to MCV. our industry, listings will also return judge the successes of and clear MCV dropped its weekly and continue to grow using as part of market.” monthly charts sections information about our games which our Digital Counts initiative, SuperData CEO Joost van y full a “Getting campaigned for more transparenc Dreunen added: are selling includes around how well games picture of the market, that such as MMOs via download platforms categories like free-to-play iOS and be key to Steam, Xbox Live, PSN, and digital console, will and Google Play. the UK industry’s domestic highest it’s “Access to data is of the ternational success. Certainly,
MCV Directory 2016 DPS.indd 2 industry AT last! The UK games charts. has some digital download UKIE has signed agreements of mobile with leading providers and MCV will and digital sales data, be printing the results. will oﬀer ection Reﬂ rm ﬁ Analytics which will UK mobile sales charts, ngside
picked Uncharted 4 as their most anticipated game of 2016
Teaming digital gamers in the UK. to extend up with UKIE allows us and fulﬁl the depth of our coverage a clear the ambition of providing market.” picture of the digital games sector, mobile the of On the state Leksell said: Reﬂection boss Gustav in a “The market is quite immature type of data way. The fact that this attests to is not readily available back to goes only sector This that. it mature, 2007, but we are seeing p is developers
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Core Design Studios CEO Troy Horton talks about the increasing quality of the assets required by developers Tell us about your company. We provide art production services to the game and movie industries. We are not developers ourselves, although game development is our original background. Our team has produced art assets for projects including Eve Online, several Battlefield games as well as the Fable series and Transformers. What successes have you seen recently? Since we are a service provider, we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have direct successes in the market. The success of our clients
however is always great to see since we have contributed just a little somewhere along the way.
North America, console or high end PC gaming developers mostly. In terms of production we see more and more requirements coming along for next generation games such as full physically based rendering assets, 4K textures and incredibly detailed assets. In addition a lot of developers, because of this higher quality requirement, are looking at ways of saving production time where they can. The next phase of games over the next year or two on either of the consoles, PC as well, is going to be quite incredible.
What are you currently working on? One of our longest running projects is contributing game art to free-toplay World War 2 MMOFPS game Heroes & Generals from Reto Moto out of Copenhagen. What are the biggest trends in the games industry affecting you right now? Most of our clients are in Europe or
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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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35 MCV898 International Distributor Guide.indd 1
November 4th 2016
FACTFILE LATVIA Sponsored by
INTERNATIONAL FACTFILE: LATVIA Population: 1,956,000 Capital City: Riga Currency: Euro GDP (Per Capita): $15,726.5 KEY RETAILERS Videogames.lv, GGWP.pro, Elkor, RD Electronics, Capital, 1A TOP DISTRIBUTORS SIA iWare Distribution, ACME Computer Components
EASTERN Europe is a growing games market: Russia and its revenue of $1.4bn (£1.14bn) still leads the region, which as a whole hit $3bn (£2.45bn), according to research firm Newzoo. Inside this massive region, Latvia is of course pretty far from reaching Russia’s heights. Newzoo reports that the country generated $23m (£18.8m) in games revenue in 2016 and ranks at No.89 worldwide in terms of size. While that ranking has dropped from No.80 in 2014, the industry has actually grown from $19.1m (£15.6) over the last two years. Data firm Statista also points out that mobile gaming could become a big part of the Latvian industry in the coming years. This segment only represented $1m (£0.81m) in revenue in 2016 but should grow at an annual rate of 8.2 per cent for the 2016 to 2021 period. “User penetration is at 13.9 per cent in 2016 and is expected to hit 17.8 per cent in 2021,” Statista adds. Latvia’s living standards are also improving, which explains why gaming is likely to become a bigger hobby in the future.
November 4th 2016
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TOP DEVELOPERS Ambergames, Game Insight, Innowate, Next Level, MightyFingers, Fun Generation Lab PUBLISHERS IN THE REGION Sony, Microsoft
In 2016, games revenue in Latvia reached $23m (£18.8m). “Due to the expected further reduction of income tax by one per cent in 2016 and the diminishing burden of consumers’ debts, which were made at the peak of the economy in 2005-2008, consumers will enjoy stable income growth, which will be spent on their personal appearance, home-related and leisure goods and the latest technologies,” Euromonitor analyses. Games remain expensive, with PS4 titles launching at €65 (£58), high compared to the country’s average monthly wages of €818 (£731). Language remains a major barrier. Latvian won’t be high on many regionalisation lists, though a significant number (34 per cent) speak Russian at home.
MEANWHILE IN... GERMANY German publisher Gameforge has laid off a fifth of its staff as it has dropped mobile development to focus on the PC market PUBLISHER Gameforge is pulling out of the mobile games market and will now focus on PC titles. The firm has laid off a fifth of its staff in Karlsruhe, Germany. Gameforge didn’t share the exact number but reports talk about 90 jobs cut. Speaking to MediaBiz, CEO Alexander Rösner said that developing for mobile had not been as lucrative and successful as expected, while the PC market had presented “interesting opportunities.” According to Pocket Gamer, all the mobile titles that were being
36 37 MCV899 International Factfile_V5.indd 2
developed by Gameforge have been put on hold as a consequence. 300 people are still employed by the company and Gameforge also said the firm will assist the staff that
has been laid out in their search for a new job. Gameforge is known for mobile games such as King of Castles and Sigils: Battle for Raios.
November 4th 2016
OFF THE RECORD
OFF THE RECORD This week, Japan ups the stakes in developer pin-ups and the cold weather seems to have finally got to Skyrim’s Dragonborn CALENDAR DEVS WHILE some areas of Japanese culture have lost their power to amaze us over the years – we’re looking at you dubious anime shows and live fish eating – the country does still come up with the odd eye-opener. This time it’s from one of gaming’s own in the form of Deadly Premonition and D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die director Hidetaka Suehiro, also known as Swery65. Swery has shown off a full back tattoo, featuring his favourite companion, a toy monkey. The picture is just one that will appear in the upcoming ‘Men of Development 2017’ calendar. The calendar is already funded on Kickstarter and includes both ‘talent’ and talents from the likes of Bungie, Bioware and Naughty Dog, among others.
THE DRAGON’S THROAT FUS-RO-DAH!! Having used your super-powered voice to blast all and sundry, foe and ally, off the many cliffs of Tamriel, it’s somewhat ironic that the recent re-release of the game has run into audio quality issues with its voice files - spotted by Reddit user LasurArkinshade. The files in the PC and Xbox One versions of the game appear to have been overly, and unnecessarily, compressed. That leaves those Dragon Shouts sounding a tad muffled in audio terms – like the Dragonborn has a nasty sniffle - though thankfully they still send Lydia flying into the nearest abyss. Bethesda is reportedly working on a cure, sorry, a patch.
November 4th 2016
38 39 MCV899 Off The Record_V4.indd 1
OFF THE RECORD
Green Man Gaming Asks...
Do you think that VR is just a gimmick, or the next leap forward for the games industry? #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!
VR is definitely a part of the future of gaming. It’s far more than just a gimmick but it will coexist rather than replace.
To me it is just a gimmick. Augmented reality + quantum development combined is much more interesting for the future.
IMO it’s another option like 4K. In industry, medicine, research and so on is where I think it will truly shine.
The experience is unbelieveable, and given enough time to develop for it, there will be amazing games unlike any seen before.
Definitely a gimmick. Nobody has shown that it can improve existing games yet, and I doubt they will be able to.
Gimmick until proven not to be. Got burned by motion controls, not letting my guard down again.
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November 4th 2016
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