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MCV AWARDS 2017: LOBBYING NOW OPEN ISSUE 902 FRIDAY NOVEMBER 25TH 2016

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO ENTER THIS YEAR’S SHOW P04

Ubisoft: Launch sales important but not critical by Seth Barton AFTER some disappointing figures at retail across numerous bigname releases in recent weeks, the industry has been wondering if a big change is afoot in consumer behaviour. Ubisoft doesn't seem overly worried, though, taking a more long-term view instead. Speaking to MCV this week, Anne Blondel, VP of live operations at Ubisoft said: "[Week One is] not critical but still very important. As long as the feedback from the gamers and the community is great, that means we have achieved our No.1 objective - the rest will come afterwards." Blondel clarified: "It's true that we need, at first, a big enough player base; because players are coming to meet with other players, so if there's too small a [user]base... there has to be [enough for] a snowball effect." So while Ubisoft isn't centred

on that opening week, a game does need to get enough of a foothold that its quality can then spread by word-of-mouth. Blondel concluded: "I wouldn't say it's less important, but it's important in a different way for a different reason." Ubisoft sounds happy to trust in the quality of its titles and that its long-term strategy will outweigh any initial hesitancy by consumers. Such an approach has been vindicated by player figures for Rainbow Six Siege. The game has shown considerable growth in numbers since its launch, thanks to updates, balancing and patches, which have greatly improved the experience. WATCH OUT In terms of retail, Ubisoft had its own disappointment this week in the form of sales figure for Watch Dogs 2, with the title debuting below Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare in the charts, even two weeks

I wouldn't say Week One is less important, but it's important in a different way for a different reason. Anne Blondel, Ubisoft

after that game's release. In a statement, Ubisoft said: “We’re very happy with critics’ and players’ very positive reception of Watch Dogs 2, which should bolster support for the long-term success of the game. It is true that first-day and week sales for a number of big games, including Watch Dogs 2 and titles from our competitors, are comparatively lower than previous versions. However, we expect both Week Two and Week Three sales to be above traditional sales patterns. "There is a trend toward games, especially high-quality games, having stronger and longer 'tails' as favourable reviews and wordof-mouth spread." Blondel was talking to us about Ubisoft's stable of 'live' games, such as Watch Dogs 2, The Division, Rainbow 6 Siege, The Crew and newcomer Steep (see page 20). Full interview and analysis next week.

PLUS GOOGLE DREAMS BIG ON VR n ATLUS’ WESTERN PLANS 01 MCV902 Cover_FINAL.indd 1

22/11/2016 17:57


NEWS

‘Black Friday is the worst thing to happen to retail’ Stores question whether publishers will release new games in November in the future due to sales event by Alex Calvin THE Black Friday sales event has had a deeply negative effect on games retail. That’s according to sources speaking to MCV, who say that the period is ‘the worst thing’ to happen to shops. Retailers say that Black Friday is a major factor in the UK software market being down, with the sales event being detrimental to sales of new releases. This is due to consumers holding off spending until Black Friday. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Watch Dogs 2 and Titanfall 2 have been among the games that have underperformed in their first weeks on shelves. One source goes as far as to say that publishers may think again about launching new games during this period. But apparently even

the massive discounts at retail seen during Black Friday won’t help the market. “The market cannot turn around now. Pre-orders and the first couple of weeks sales are enormously important to both publishers and retailers but there has been some appalling results this year due to Black Friday, and customers waiting to see if the games are broken or if the scores are decent,” said one retail source. “It’s hard to see why publishers would release games in November going forward. Black Friday is the worst thing to happen to UK retail.” Another retail source added: “Judging by the drop off we have seen in trade in the run up to Black Friday, I suspect customers have held off on key purchases. This should make the event itself larger

than 2015, but I’m not convinced that the month as a whole will benefit. The following weeks were slightly subdued as consumers had no doubt spent much of their disposable income.“ Though they admit a lot depends on the sales event, one retail source says that the market needs strong releases at the start of 2017.

“There is a lot riding on Black Friday – we are about to see how much pent up console demand there is,” they told MCV. “More fundamentally we need some exciting games early in 2017 for Xbox One and PS4. Especially something new and fresh. There is a bit of franchise fatigue at the moment outside of FIFA.”

Rebellion: “Sniper Elite 4 will be our largest marketing campaign” by Marie Dealessandri WITH only three months to go before the release of Sniper Elite 4, UK-based developer and publisher Rebellion says it will be supporting the title with its biggest marketing push to date. This fourth entry in the franchise is due to hit shelves on February 14th, having previously been scheduled for a Q4 launch. 2014’s Sniper Elite 3 debuted at No.1 in the UK and Rebellion definitely intends to take advantage of this couple of extra months to deliver an even bigger title. “This is by far the largest Sniper Elite game we’ve ever created, and it’ll be the largest marketing campaign we’ve launched and the largest team that’s ever made a Sniper Elite game – so we’re

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Sniper Elite 4, with Sold Out handling the physical launch. The studio is pretty confident about what lies ahead - but also has more pressure on its shoulders. “We wouldn’t be making Sniper Elite 4 if we didn’t think it could be the best-selling Sniper Elite game of all time, but that’s not the only measure of success,” Cooke continued. “Do players stay with the game and support us when we make new content? Will players leave great player ratings, or want to share it over Twitch and Youtube? Will it keep its value over time? Will it attract new players who might want to explore previous games in the series, or even future ones? Now that we have complete control of the IP, its development and marketing we can judge success on more than sales figures.”

Sniper Elite 4 will be the largest title in the franchise, Rebellion’s Cooke said

very confident in where Sniper Elite 4 is, and where Rebellion as a studio is going,” marketing and PR manager Robbie Cooke told MCV. Having previously partnered with 505 Games for the release of the past titles in the franchise, Rebellion is now self-publishing

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www.mcvuk.com

22/11/2016 18:19


NEWS

PlayStation VR set to eclipse Rift and Vive sales in the UK by Alex Calvin SALES of Sony’s PlayStation VR tech are on track to outsell the combined sales of HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, according to data tracker GfK’s October consumer panel survey. “VR devices Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, both of which are focused towards gamers, suffer when compared to PlayStation VR,” GfK director Paul Simpson said. “The VR units of the former are more expensive (£550-plus vs c. £350) and require a relatively high performance PC. PlayStation VR also benefits from a large installed base of PS4 owners – more than 3.5m in the UK. “Early UK sales of PlayStation VR indicate it is already approaching the combined

THE EDITOR

installed base of HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Initial PlayStation VR game sales are also positive with eight or nine boxed releases featuring in the Official UK Top 40 games chart (week ending Saturday 15th October 2016).” He continued: “Early adopters weren’t certain what to expect from a VR gaming experience. The Sony PlayStation branding eradicated many concerns and led to high expectations. Our survey shows that initial reactions from owners of PlayStation VR are positive. Some told us that the experience surpasses expectations, and for many it is a talking point with their friends. Others believe the VR gaming experience to be a solitary one, but have been pleasantly surprised by social elements of VR gaming.”

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

A

nother week, another poorly-performing sequel at retail. It’s Watch Dogs 2 that has suffered at the hands of apparently fickle consumers this time. But with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Titanfall 2 and Dishonored 2 all having a similar fate, isn’t it time to look a little deeper at what’s going on? I’ve seen the figures, and although I can’t report exact numbers, I can say it’s relevant to discuss all four titles in the same breath. Physical software sales are down 13 per cent yearon-year to date, not great when we should be seeing growth as the installed base rises thanks to retooled hardware. There are numerous issues that are affecting the sales of games this year but three seem to stand out. First off, consumers are simply playing their games for longer. The publishers aren’t creating many ‘fire-and-forget’ titles anymore, with A-to-B narratives, instead the charts are dominated by ‘games as a service’ which build long-term communities. The players of these games are putting serious numbers of hours into their favourites. Destiny was a huge timesink for many, while Overwatch is currently dominating many’s daily playing habits, even FIFA has grown from an occasional kickabout to a hugely compelling ongoing experience over the last few years. Publishers are looking at the data from online games and tweaking them to keep consumers playing. There are only so many hours in the day and gamers’ time isn’t unlimited.

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SQUARE ENIX

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Physical software sales are down 13% year-on-year to date. The loss of legacy consoles from the previous generation should not be underestimated either. The last generation was a bumper one, artificially extended by the financial crisis in 2009, as there was little appetite for releasing new console hardware. The Xbox 360 and PS3 sold 164m between them worldwide according to official figures from the platform holders. The new consoles are doing well but are still well short of catching their predecessors in scale. Finally we have the relatively recent phenomenon of Black Friday. Hyped up by both retailers and the press, consumers spend, or rather don’t spend, much of November in a retail hiatus, awaiting much-publicised deals. How many gamers are counting their pennies and looking at a buying a big new 4K TV come Friday, quite a few if PS4 Pro sales are anything to go by. Thankfully, all these issues may have upsides. Black Friday will pass and many consoles will be sold, increasing the number of installed machines. Those new 4K TVs will cry out for something to be played on them, and longrunning ‘live’ games should encourage sales further into their lifespans. In short, there’s light at the end of this tunnel. sbarton@nbmedia.com

November 25th 2016

22/11/2016 18:19


MCV AWARDS 2017 LOBBYING GUIDE

MCV Awards 2017: How to enter The MCV Awards return for 2017 on March 9th at London’s The Brewery. Here, we detail the criteria for each of the 24 categories and how you can get involved

THE AWARDS Specialist Retailer Mainstream Retailer Independent Retailer New Game Brand Sales Triumph Buying Team Peripherals and Accessories Brand Marketing Team Digital Marketing Team Trade Marketing Team PR Team Agency Team Community Team Distribution Team Events Team Export Team Media Team Sales Team Indie Games Label Game Campaign Games Publisher SPECIAL AWARDS: Store Manager of the Year Unsung Hero Person of the Year Warner Bros collecting the PR Team prize at the MCV Awards 2016

KEY DATES Entries close: Friday, January 6th: MCV Awards 2017: Thursday, March 9th

November 25th 2016

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HOW DO I ENTER?

supporting your nomination. A company or person may enter for as many categories as they see fit.

This year, all entries and nominations for the MCV Awards are being handled online. Simply head to the event’s website – www.mcvawards.com – go to the Enter section, then select the category you want to put someone – or yourself – forward for, and upload documents and evidence

HOW ARE THE AWARDS JUDGED?

The 21 main categories are judged by a panel of members of the games industry.

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All judges will be invited to read the supplied lobbying/ entry documents. Store Manager of the Year, Unsung Hero and Person of the Year are selected by the MCV team after soundings from the games industry. Please put forward any recommended person for these prizes. www.mcvuk.com

22/11/2016 17:51


LOBBYING GUIDE MCV AWARDS 2017

Specialist Retailer This award is open to any specialist retailer – digital, online or physical, or a combination thereof – which champions video games and offers a wide range of products to the market. Entries should include: Evidence of exceptional customer service in the form of up to three testimonials and/ or proof of active staff training around customer service and product knowledge Evidence of a considered range and merchandising design and layout Commitment to street dates An overview of gamesspecific multi-platform marketing campaign alongside detail surrounding KPI’s and measurement of success according to said KPIs Evidence of innovation – what makes you stand out from other specialist retailers?

Mainstream Retailer This award is open to any large retailer – High Street, grocer chain or online – that sells video games, hardware and accessories as part of a wider product mix. Entries should include: Evidence of exceptional customer service in the form of up to three testimonials and/ or proof of active staff training around customer service and product knowledge Evidence of a considered range and merchandising design and layout Commitment to street dates An overview of gamesspecific multi-platform marketing campaign alongside detail surrounding KPI’s and measurement of success according to said KPIs Evidence of innovation – what makes you stand out from other mainstream retailers?

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Independent Retailer

campaign with evidence of impact through testimonials, case studies or improved commercial success in time with activity Digital support – please give an overview of your digital support arrangements, with at least one example of an outstanding support service

This award is open to any independent retailer – mainstream or specialist, digital, online or physical, or a combination thereof – which sells games and prominently features them in its product range.

Sales Triumph

Entries should include: Evidence of exceptional customer service in the form of up to three testimonials and/ or proof of active staff training around customer service and product knowledge Evidence of a considered range and merchandising design and layout Commitment to street dates An overview of gamesspecific multi-platform marketing campaign alongside detail surrounding KPI’s and measurement of success according to said KPIs Evidence of innovation – what makes you stand out from other independent retailers?

This award is open to any publisher – regardless of size – who has achieved significant success with the sale of a piece of hardware or game across the UK. Entries should include: Evidence of sales success against initial projections; including detail around exceeded targets Detail regarding how said sales triumph was orchestrated, including, but not limited to, marketing campaigns and sales strategy development and execution

New Games Brand

Buying Team

This award is open to any new video game brand introduced over the past 12 months that has made a significant impact at consumer level within the UK marketplace – regardless of whether the game is a physical release, digital release, hardware brand, or even a company brand.

This award is open to any team that managed buying and procurement for retail operations in the UK serving video games – be that for physical games or digital games across any format. Entries should include: Evidence of commitment to excellent product knowledge and industry commitment Detail surrounding product range and versatility, and the strategy behind said range Commercial strategy and projections Up to three testimonials from partners attesting to the excellence of the buying team

Entries should include: Evidence of originality, innovation and creativity in the communication of brand values to the marketplace Sales success; include evidence of sales figures against initial projections/targets Long term potential; please detail the strategy for sustainable growth and relevance over a longer period Marketing support and impact – please include details of a multi-platform marketing

Peripherals and Accessories Brand This award is open to any company that designs, distributes

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and/or manufactures its own brand of peripherals and accessories for use with home consoles, handhelds and PC games. Entries should include: Evidence of innovation in the design, distribution strategy or manufacturing of peripherals and accessories Testimonials from up to three partners as to the quality of the devices An overview of gamesspecific multi-platform marketing campaign alongside detail surrounding KPI’s and measurement of success according to said KPIs

Marketing Team This award is open to any UK-based marketing team or specialist company that has executed multi-platform marketing campaigns around more than one product or project within the games market over the last 12 months. Entries should include: Evidence of effective communication of product or brand messages Evidence of consistent creativity through branding and messaging Evidence of a link between marketing activity and sales performance – please include illustrative figures and metrics Detail surrounding impact of the project/product vs. budget and resource level, including evidence of innovative use of both

Digital Marketing Team This award is open to any UK based digital marketing team or specialist company that has worked on more than one project within the games market over the past 12 months. This award focuses solely on digital

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MCV AWARDS 2017 LOBBYING GUIDE

marketing (not the marketing of digital-only or digital-first games). Entries should include: Evidence of effective communication of product or brand messages Evidence of consistent creativity through branding and messaging Evidence of a link between marketing activity and sales performance – please include illustrative figures and metrics Detail surrounding impact of the project/product vs. budget and resource level, including evidence of innovative use of both

Trade Marketing Team This award is open to any company or team that has worked on campaigns dedicated to in-store and retail support, inclusive of trade advertising, POS, distribution and merchandising. Entries should include: Evidence of effective communication of product or brand messages Evidence of consistent creativity through branding and messaging Evidence of influence on sales performance; please include detail of metrics and figures Detail surrounding impact of the project/product vs. budget and resource level, including evidence of innovative use of both

PR Team This award is open to all PR teams who have worked on UK games campaigns during the past 12 months – this includes in-house PR teams and retained or project-based agencies below the line activity. Entries should include: Evidence of originality and

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imagination in shaping and executing the PR campaign Effective and innovative use of existing assets and the creation of new materials to support the campaigns Responsiveness and relations with the media – evidence of impact through testimonials from three key media professionals

measurement of impact vs. budget.

Distribution Team This award is open to any distributor active within the interactive entertainment industry serving outlets large and small across the UK.

Agency Team

Entries should include: Evidence of speed of service and high quality order fulfilment Evidence of exceptional customer service; please include up to three testimonials from clients Commitment to an orderly market and consistent product condition

This award is open to any UK based agency or external contributor that has worked for a UK games business to deliver influential marketing activity, that has raised brand awareness and helped achieve commercial goals. Above the line activity handled by third-party organisations will be considered.

Events Team This award is open to any UK based events team, including in-house staff and outsourced service companies, that focus on organising games-related events.

Entries should include: Creativity and innovation across marketing on multiple platforms Evidence of effective communication of the brand’s messages and values Evidence of campaign impact on sales performance and audience vs. budget Detail around allocation of resource and innovative strategy

Entries must include: Evidence of exceptional event planning and logistics including deadlines and strategies to meet them Proof of innovative product design and execution Up to three testimonials from event attendees or sponsors An overview of the aims of the event marketing campaign and its execution and impact

Community Team This award is open to any UK based community relations or engagement team working for a UK games business. The team can be internal or external, but must have kept in regular contact with the audience to raise brand awareness and help achieve commercial goals.

Export Team This award is open to any UK based export team, including in-house staff and outsourced service companies that focus on sales outside of the UK.

Entries should include: Evidence of creativity and innovation in communications strategy and implementation Evidence of effective communication of brand’s messages Evidence of influence on the audience and detail around the

Entries should include: Up to three case studies that demonstrate excellent product knowledge, depth of advance information, and strong trade relations Evidence of outstanding telesales customer care

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Proof of field sales reliability Figures and associated budgets/targets that illustrate sales performance

Media Team This award is open to any UK based specialist games media team, including print, online, social and broadcast media. Entries should include: Up to three examples of work that illustrates exceptional product knowledge, depth and accuracy of content Evidence of innovation in content development and coverage Innovation in technology Figures around audience that illustrate impact and influence on the market

Sales Team This award is open to any UK based sales team or specialist sales force, including in-house staff and outsourced service companies that focus on sales inside of the UK. Entries should include: Up to three case studies that demonstrate excellent product knowledge, depth of advance information, and strong trade relations Evidence of outstanding telesales customer care Proof of field sales reliability Figures and associated budgets/targets that illustrate sales performance

Indie Games Label This award is open to any company publishing games in the UK on behalf of a smaller development partner, achieving notable commercial and critical success over the last 12 months.

www.mcvuk.com

22/11/2016 17:51


Thursday 9th March 2017, The Brewery, London

ENTRIES ARE NOW OPEN! Visit www.mcvawards.com for more details Entry deadline: 6th January 2017

@MCVonline MCV Awards 2017_Entries.indd 1

#mcvawards 22/11/2016 18:14


MCV AWARDS 2017 LOBBYING GUIDE

Last year’s Agency Team prize went to Indigo Pearl (left), while Bethesda (right) walked away with the Games Publisher gong

Entries should include: Evidence of sales development and product quality Details of publishing strategy and choices Up to three testimonials demonstrating strong trade relations A marketing case study illustrating the campaign strategy and subsequent impact translating into commercial success

Game Campaign This award is open to any company who ran a significant marketing campaign in the UK supporting products or services within games. This is for an overall campaign covering TV, online, radio, outdoor and print, plus trade. Multiple campaigns can be entered by the same organisation, but each must be done on a separate entry. Entries should include: Evidence of effective communication of product or brand messages and subsequent impact Evidence of consistent creativity and innovation Figures to illustrate influence on sales figures Impact vs. budget available

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Games Publisher

Evidence of market knowledge Up to three testimonials from colleagues Figures to demonstrate the contribution of said individual to the commercial success of the stores they manage

This award is open to any company publishing games in the UK market that has achieved notable commercial or critical success and generally high levels of performance over the last 12 months.

Unsung Hero

Entries should include: Evidence of sales development over the year ideally including sales projections and figures Evidence of strong product quality Details of publishing strategy and choices Up to three testimonials demonstrating strong trade relations A marketing case study illustrating the campaign strategy and subsequent impact translating into commercial success

Store Manager of the Year, Unsung Hero and Person of the Year are chosen by the MCV team after soundings from the industry.

Store Manager of the Year

This award will honour an individual from the UK games industry who hasn’t been in the spotlight but should have been. This is your chance to put forward someone who has been instrumental in the success of a company, product or campaign, or the wider games industry, but simply hasn’t had the credit. This is not specific to an activity form the last year, but is ideal for those with committed long-service records in the games business.

Person of the Year

This award will honour one store manager running key games outlets across the UK. Nominees must have been a manager for at least 18 months by the time of the awards ceremony on 9th March 2016.

This award will honour an individual from the UK games industry who in the last year has been a stand-out achiever, either in terms of driving forward a product, raising awareness about an issue or topic, influencing at all levels, or simply being a notable games industry professional. This is specifically an activity in the past year and any key successes in 2016.

Entries should include: Up to three case studies illustrating particular successful projects and initiatives

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www.mcvuk.com

22/11/2016 17:52


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22/11/2016 10:57


CHEAT SHEET

UP & DOWN

Market Data

Sales rose six per cent last week, but there was a slight two per cent dip in revenue £40m £15m

£30m £20m

IN its second week in the charts, Dishonored 2 had a 52 per cent decrease in sales

£39m 844,523 units £25m 651,196 units

Week Ending November 5th

Week Ending November 12th

£24m 688,244 units

Week Ending November 19th

SALES FOR Watch Dogs increased 452 per cent last week following the release of its sequel

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK THIS WEEK: FINAL FANTASY XV

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November 25th 2016

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“A Final Fantasy for fans and first-timers”: these are the first words that appear when you start Final Fantasy XV, Square Enix’s marketing director Anthony Newall told MCV. As a consequence, the title’s marketing campaign has been organised accordingly. “[These words] are at the heart of our campaign strategy,” Newall said. Since the Uncovered Livestream event in March, Final Fantasy XV has been everywhere. Newall continued: “Since then we have been on both first party stages at E3 2016, hosted an incredible livestream concert at Abbey Road Studios with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, garnered multiple front covers, had our music debut on BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show and taken animatronic Chocobos to EGX. “For launch we have recently had IGN Premiere – a one-hour livestream event beamed online and to over 35 Odeon cinemas across the UK and Ireland.

Final Fantasy XV will hit shelves on November 29th, eight months after the beginning of the campaign

“We are also really proud of our partnership with Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant, which showcased some of the incredible food that is featured in the game and provided a weeklong Final Fantasy XV menu for the public to order.”

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The campaign will also hit more traditionnal channels: online, social medias, TV and VOD. “We have also secured a hefty outdoor campaign including 1,500 national T-sides bus campaign, 48 huge sheets on the underground and a Shortlist coverwrap.”

www.mcvuk.com

22/11/2016 18:30


CHEAT SHEET

PRESENTS

5 SECOND FACTS

THE NEWS IN 140 CHARACTERS The Tweets you might have missed in the last seven days

Your shortcut to sounding clever in the pub, we take you around the industry in under 30 seconds

WATCH DOGS 2 SALES DISAPPOINTMENT

50%

Following the launch of Watch Dogs 2 on November 15th, reports suggest that sales are way below expectations for this sequel. 2014’s Watch Dogs debuted at No.1 while this second entry entered the charts at No.2, behind Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Ubisoft previously stated that preorders for Watch Dogs 2 were below expectations.

Leaked in-store ads from HMV show that Titanfall 2’s price will be cut by over 50 per cent to £19.99, following slow sales

6.1m

SuperData predicts that the install base for virtual reality headsets will reach over 6.1m worldwide by the end of 2016

@andihero There’s a million reasons Watch Dogs 2 didn’t sell as much as the first and I’m not even slightly surprised.

@Just_Ge0 Saying “Watch Dogs 2 did bad because of WD1” feels unfair. In four weeks we’ve had six triple-A games, PSVR and PS4 Pro. People are broke.

George Morgan, Sold Out Monday, November 21st

Andi Hamilton, freelance journalist Monday, November 21st

@Toadsanime Watch Dogs 2 underselling is likely due to disappointment from the first game. A case of hype culture killing an IPs potential to grow. Ryan Brown, Daily Mirror Monday, November 21st

@tomphillipsEG This autumn’s triple-A games to sell less than their predecessors - Watch Dogs 2, Dishonored 2, Titanfall 2, COD Infinite Warfare. Tom Phillips, Eurogamer Monday, November 21st

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Persona 5 was hit by a two months delay: it was due to release on Valentine’s Day and will now hit shelves on April 4th

£1bn

Google has unveiled a £1bn UK investment plan, which covers the building a new London HQ that will create 3,000 new jobs

263k

EA SETS NEW TRANSPARENCY RULES

Nintendo’s NES Classic Mini sold 262,961 units in Japan during its first four days on shelves

YouTubers promoting EA content will now have to use two hashtags (#supportedbyEA and #advertisment), in order to increase transparency following various controversies on sponsored content. @ZhugeEX Great work by EA to be more transparent on sponsored content. Especially in this day and age when social media influencers have early access. Daniel Ahmad, Niko Partners Wednesday, November 16th

@Wesley_Copeland More rules for pubs and money-making idiots are great, but linking it to PewDiePie is really odd. [images of PewDiePie were used by some sites alongside this story] Wesley Copeland, freelance journalist Thursday, November 17th

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GAMESAID THIS WEEK GAMES INDUSTRY CHRISTMAS PARTY ..................

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MCV, Develop and eSports Pro’s Games Industry Christmas Party is back on December 6th, at the Sway Bar. The tickets cost just £10 and include entrance, free drinks and food. All ticket proceeds go to GamesAid.

BECOME A GAMESAID MEMBER ..................

If you work in the industry, you can become a GamesAid member. Simply register on the site (address left) and you’ll get the events newsletter and become part of the GamesAid democracy - helping the organisation choose the charities it supports each year. 11

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 25th 2016

22/11/2016 18:30


MARKET MOVES

APPOINTMENTS

MCV hires news editor Byrne joins from Expert Reviews NEWBAY MEDIA | MCV is delighted to announce that KATHARINE BYRNE is joining the team as news editor. She has been reviews editor at Expert Reviews for the past year, after climbing the ladder at the company where she started in 2012 as staff writer. She also wrote for the likes of Nintendojo, Official Nintendo Magazine, GamesMaster, Official Xbox Magazine, Nintendo Gamer and Nintendo Life. MCV editor SETH BARTON stated: “I’m excited to be working with Katharine again. Her extensive multi-platform publishing experience will be invaluable in rebooting MCV.”

Sold Out hires Sega’s Walker

SOLD OUT | Former Sega Europe UK sales director DAVID WALKER has joined Sold Out. He will take over the role of sales director, looking after UK and international accounts. Walker also previously worked for the likes of Virgin Interactive Entertainment, MTV and cDV. He stated: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have joined such a vibrant and forwardthinking publisher. Sold Out has a solid track record in choosing products that sell extremely well – both in boxed and digital format – so I’m looking

Double Jump appoints head of biz dev

forward to help grow the business further.” CEO GARRY WILLIAMS said: “We’re delighted to welcome David to the Sold Out family. He brings with him a wealth of industry experience, particularly in dealing with supermarket buyers, which sits extremely well with that fact that we have an exciting roster of new titles coming out over the coming months.” DOUBLE JUMP | Games-focused creative agency Double Jump has hired ZAC SHING as new head of business development.

He joins from the 3D printing industry, having worked for over two years as marketing executive at start-up My Mini Factory, where he helped grow and develop the firm’s online community, focusing on gaming. Double Jump was launched earlier this year by CAM ROBINSON and SEB FORD, formerly of GameSpot UK. Shing commented: “I can’t wait to get stuck into the role. DoubleJump is in an exciting, creative industry that has so much potential to excel. I’m really looking forward to working with such passionate people and to be a crucial part of the team that will help continue to grow and be successful.”

Distributed by IT World Services TEL: +44 (0)17538 21122 EMAIL: sales@itworldservices.co.uk

©2016 Mimoco, Inc. All rights reserved. November 25th 2016

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22/11/2016 17:27


WE HAVE ALL THE ‘MERCH’ FROM THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS.

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MCV Advert.indd 1

22/11/2016 11:01


WEEKLY SALES CHARTS

WEEKLY CHARTS FOR the third consecutive week, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare has claimed No.1 in the UK charts. Sales for Activision’s title were down 46 per cent last week, which is less than what Black Ops III experienced for its third week last year (50 per cent). This was enough to prevent Watch Dogs 2 from taking the top spot and Ubisoft’s hacking title thus debuted at No.2. Watch Dogs 2‘s spot behind Call of Duty means we can deduce it has only sold a fraction of the original game at launch. Watch Dogs shifted 380k copies in its first week in 2014. The first entry in the franchise has actually re-entered the charts last week, at No.40. FIFA 17 was No.3 last week, with steady sales growing one per cent, while another EA game, Battlefield 1, took No.4 with sales slightly decreasing by five per cent. Meanwhile, WWE 2K17 climbed from No.16 to No.5 thanks to retail promotions - sales for 2K’s wrestling title increased by a massive 173 per cent. Forza Horizon 3’s sales also grew 49 per cent last week, but

Microsoft’s racing game kept its No.6 spot. Last week’s No.4, Dishonored 2, saw a 52 per cent dip in sales and landed at No.7 last week. The title has gained two places on Steam though, jumping from No.5 to No.3. There isn’t a new entry in the Assassin’s Creed franchise this year, but The Ezio Collection, which gathers Assassin’s Creed 2, Brotherhood and Revelations, debuted in the UK charts at No.10, behind the remastered Skyrim Special Edition, now at No.8. Over on Steam, Frontier’s Planet Coaster entered the charts at No.1, while its Thrillseeker Edition, which includes DLC, debuted at No.7. Meanwhile, Watch Dogs 2 landed at No.6. Meanwhile, Gameloft’s Asphalt Extreme has stolen the No.1 spot from Sega’s Sonic CD in the iPad free games Top Ten. The game has also gained seven spots on iPhone, and landed at No.3 in the free titles charts. That chart was dominated by new endless runner Juju on the Beat. Elsewhere, F1 2016 debuted at No.5 on iPad and No.4 on iPhone.

TOP 40 UK PHYSICAL RETAIL 02

01

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

LW 01 NEW 02 03 16 06 04 05 11 NEW 12 10 09 17 08 14 18 07 13 21 22 20 19 26 24 15 25 23 27 29 28 34 37 RE RE 30 RE 31 35 RE

03

04

05

Title Format Publisher Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare PS4, XO, PC Activision Watch Dogs 2 PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft FIFA 17 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC EA Battlefield 1 PS4, XO, PC EA WWE 2K17 PS4, XO, PS3, 360 2K Games Forza Horizon 3 XO Microsoft Dishonored 2 PS4, XO, PC Bethesda The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition PS4, XO Bethesda Grand Theft Auto V PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Rockstar Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection PS4, XO Ubisoft Gears of War 4 XO Microsoft Star Wars Battlefront PS4, XO, PC EA LEGO Dimensions PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360 Warner Bros Mafia III PS4, XO, PC 2K Games Titanfall 2 PS4, XO, PC EA Minecraft: Xbox Edition XO, 360 Microsoft Rocket League PS4, XO 505 Games Overwatch PS4, XO, PC Blizzard Skylanders Imaginators PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360 Activision Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration PS4, PC Square Enix LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens PS4, XO, PS3, 360, Wii U, 3DS, Vita Warner Bros Tom Clancy’s The Division PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft Fallout 4 PS4, XO, PC Bethesda Minecraft: PlayStation Edition PS4, PS3, Vita Sony Minecraft: Story Mode - Complete Adventure PS4, XO, PS3, 360 Telltale Football Manager 2017 PC Sega LEGO Marvel’s Avengers PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita Warner Bros Farming Simulator 17 PS4, XO, PC Focus Home Interactive LEGO Jurassic World PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita Warner Bros Just Dance 2017 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, Wii U, Wii, PC Ubisoft Batman: Return to Arkham PS4, XO Warner Bros Tomodachi Life 3DS Nintendo BioShock: The Collection PS4, XO 2K Games Skylanders SuperChargers PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS Activision F1 2016 PS4, XO, PC Codemasters Mario Kart 7 3DS Nintendo Deus Ex: Mankind Divided PS4, XO, PC Codemasters Call of Duty: Black Ops III PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Activision Destiny: The Collection PS4, XO Activision Watch Dogs PS4, Wii U, PS3, 360, PC Ubisoft

Source: UKIE/GfK Entertainment, Period: Week ending November 19th November 25th 2016

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22/11/2016 18:32


WEEKLY SALES CHARTS GLOBAL STEAM CHARTS (UNITS)

01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09

LW RE 05 02 09 NEW NEW 08 03

PLANET COASTER DEVELOPER: FRONTIER DEVELOPMENTS PUBLISHER: FRONTIER DEVELOPMENTS

Title Rise of the Tomb Raider Dishonored 2 Sid Meier’s Civilization VI Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Watch Dogs 2 Planet Coaster: Thrillseeker Edition Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Tyranny

Publisher Microsoft Bethesda 2K Games Ubisoft Ubisoft Frontier Developments Valve Paradox Interactive

Source: Steam, Period: November 14th – November 20th

UK IPAD PAID

01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW 07 NEW NEW NEW 05 04 10 RE RE

UK IPHONE PAID

(UNITS)

01

MINECRAFT: POCKET EDITION DEVELOPER: MOJANG

Title Football Manager Touch 2017 Rome: Total War Dark Parables: Goldilocks and Fallen Star F1 2016 Tipping Point The Chase Terraria Plague Inc. SteamWorld Heist

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer Sega Feral Interactive Big Fish Codemasters Barnstorm Games Barnstorm Games 505 Games Ndemic Creations Image & Form International

LW 02 08 NEW 03 04 06 07 RE RE

(UNITS)

MINECRAFT: POCKET EDITION DEVELOPER: MOJANG

Title Heads Up! Monopoly Game F1 2016 The Chase Tipping Point Plague Inc. Bloons TD 5 Pumped BMX 3 Geometry Dash

UK IPAD GROSSING (REVENUE)

UK IPHONE GROSSING (REVENUE)

01

01

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW 04 05 03 02 06 07 08 10 RE

CANDY CRUSH SAGA DEVELOPER: KING

Title Clash of Clans Candy Crush Soda Saga Game of War - Fire Age Mobile Strike Clash Royale Gardenscapes - New Acres Hay Day Roblox Football Manager Touch 2017

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer Supercell King Machine Zone Epic War Supercell Playrix Supercell Roblox Corporation Sega

LW 02 03 04 06 05 09 08 10 NEW

POKÉMON GO DEVELOPER: NIANTIC

Title Clash Royale Mobile Strike Candy Crush Saga Clash of Clans Game of War - Fire Age Episode - Choose Your Story, feat. Mean Girls Candy Crush Soda Saga 8 Ball Pool Yin and Yang Shi

UK IPAD FREE (UNITS)

UK IPHONE FREE (UNITS)

01

01

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW RE 05 06 RE RE NEW RE RE RE

ASPHALT EXTREME DEVELOPER: GAMELOFT

Title BBC CBeebies Playtime Island Block! Hexa Puzzle DC Legends Pineapple Pen The Trail - A Frontier Journey Juju on the Beat Perchang Rolling Sky Roblox

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer BBC Media Applications Technologies BitMango Warner Bros Ketchapp Kongregate Anonymous Perchang Cheetah Technology Roblox Corporation

LW 01 10 05 07 03 RE 02 RE 09

Developer Warner Bros EA Codemasters Barnstorm Games Barnstorm Games Ndemic Creations Ninja Kiwi Yeah Us! RobTop Games

Developer Supercell Epic War King Supercell Machine Zone Episode Interactive King Miniclip.com NetEase

JUJU ON THE BEAT DEVELOPER: ANONYMOUS

Title Fit in the Hole Asphalt Xtreme Block! Hexa Puzzle Pineapple Pen Taps to Riches Episode - Choose your Story, feat. Mean Girls PinOut! The Trail - A Frontier Journey Rolling Sky

Developer Ketchapp Gameloft BitMango Ketchapp Game Circus Episode Interactive Mediocre A Kongregate Cheetah Technology

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: November 7th – November 13th www.mcvuk.com

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November 25th 2016

22/11/2016 18:32


IN-DEPTH GOOGLE DAYDREAM VR

Google is Dreaming big The tech giant’s new Daydream VR headset has just hit the market – is this when virtual reality finally hits the mainstream? Alex Calvin speaks to developers working on the platform

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fter toying with virtual reality with its Cardboard project, tech giant Google has finally launched a ‘proper’ virtual reality platform: Daydream. Announced at the company’s annual IO event, Daydream is a phone-based VR platform, much like the Samsung Gear VR. Unlike Gear, which only works with some Samsung phones, the Daydream platform will support numerous handsets, as it’s part of Android 7.0 – with most manufacturers promising support for the platform. Google’s own headset, initially just for its new Pixel phones, is called Daydream View. It comes bundled with a controller, so motion-based control in VR is guaranteed. “[Working on Daydream] has been a bit of a whirlwind ride,” says nDreams CEO Patrick O’Luanaigh. “It’s a really good mobile platform, easily in-line with the Gear VR, with the added benefits of having hand controls which has really allowed us some extra gameplay opportunities. It’s been great designing concepts for Daydream because the controller gives you different ways of interfacing with the game, whether you are smashing or pointing or aiming or jabbing. It’s the kind of things you used to be able to do with a Wii Remote. “Just like any new hardware there’s a few challenges as you get towards launch, but this has gone very smoothly. Google has been great to work with.” As O’Luanaigh points out, the Daydream’s controller helps set it apart from other mobile VR tech. Tracking hand movements much like the Wii Remote, this places Daydream between lo-fi mobile VR and the more premium kits like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PSVR.

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face. It’s very comfortable to wear and it looks very friendly. It doesn’t look like a VCR, it doesn’t look like technology, it looks very human and more like clothing.” Climax’s biz dev manager Josh Tarrant believes this is a sign that Google is going mass market. “If you saw Daydream sitting on a table at home, you initially wouldn’t know what it is,” he says. “It feels more made for mass appeal. It’s not off-putting, it doesn’t feel like a bit of tech initially. It has that soft touch feel and it’s the most comfortable headset we have used in the studio to be honest.”

“The controller is great. It’s nice and responsive, it’s small, it’s a good weight,” explains indie developer Mike Bithell. “The pointer is really precise, which surprised me. It’s emulated through gyroscopic sensors, it’s a good aim. You could do it for a drawing app or something like that – it’s nice and precise. Actually, it leads to some really nice game interfaces. With Cardboard, it was all about gaze, or Gear with the [optional] controller. But this is super high fidelity, so you can do some really cool gameplay stuff with it. The other aspect is standardisation. We know that if you have a Daydream, you have this controller and we can build games around that assumption.” ADD SOME TEXTURE One aspect of the Daydream View’s design that sets it apart from many other virtual reality players is its construction. Google has opted for a material that is said to feel more like gym wear than technology. In short, it doesn’t look like a piece of tech – it stands apart from the black plastic Rift or Vive, or the futuristic white and blue of PlayStation VR. It’s almost the kind of thing you can imagine being in the home of a – gasp normal person. “Google has approached it from a casual viewpoint,” O’Luanaigh says. “It’s for your regular person as opposed to hardcore tech enthusiasts, therefore it does look comfy and approachable. You can see that in the controller and the design of the headset. That works really well.” Bithell adds: “[The headset] is super comfortable as well. I describe it as a plimsol for your

Pictured, from top to bottom: Climax’s Josh Tarrant, indie developer Mike Bithell and nDreams’ Patrick O’Luanaigh

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DREAMING OF QUALITY The machine is clearly aimed at the mass market. One factor that is important in VR making it into the mainstream is easily accessible and high-quality titles. In the past, experiences on Google’s Play Store have not been of the highest quality, yet those making games for the platform insist that Google isn’t messing around when it comes to virtual reality. “Google already has a lot of information about how to become a Daydream developer,” Resolution Games CEO Tommy Palm explains. “It has been very good at supporting the development community in that sense. It does make sense to curate content a little bit more in VR than you would on mobile phones, because you are in that world. If you have a bad experience, you can become really nauseous. That can be pretty gruesome if the developers don’t know what they are doing. It makes sense to be a little bit more careful about what’s made available to consumer.” O’Luanaigh adds: “Google has had us jumping through hoops

www.mcvuk.com

22/11/2016 17:18


GOOGLE DAYDREAM VR IN-DEPTH

Xxx Google’s Daydream VR platform is aimed at the mass market

to make sure that the quality of what we have is top notch. It is really strongly focused on a high quality bar, and utmost customer satisfaction with every product that they are looking through. We had to do many rounds of QA, as well as multiple groups of QA that are looking for individual things. It is really raising the bar on what they are letting through with Daydream.” Bithell also says that developers have been taking quality seriously on Daydream: “I can’t speak for Google but all of the developers launching games are taking this stuff really seriously. You’re not going to see choppy frame rates or nausea-inducing tracking or anything like that out of the gate with things that we are doing. We’ve all done a really good job of that. Things like 60fps and supersmooth tracking are the baseline. “It’ll be interesting to see how tightly Google controls that going forwards. At this early stage, everybody is taking this seriously.” 2016 has been the year of VR with HTC, Oculus and PlayStation launching their fancy new tech. Yet,

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that hardware has a high barrier to entry. The cheapest of these, PlayStation VR, sets consumers back £349, and requires a comparatively cheap PS4 console. Meanwhile, Rift and Vive cost £549 and £816 respectively, and need a fairly powerful PC. VIRAL VR By contrast, mobile virtual reality is cheap and requires a smartphone to use – something that a high percentage of people own. On paper, mobile VR has staggering potential. “It’s a very attractive proposal,” Resolution Games’ Palm admits. “Already with current generation smartphones, you can make some really compelling experiences both in terms of games and other entertainment. I’m a big believer in mobile VR. It’s still very early days but it’s a space that’s going to develop very rapidly. It’s also great that it’s portable and easy to carry around and show to friends, take it to school or – if you’re a developer - demo it at a conference. It’s a big difference compared to dragging around a

I’m a big believer in mobile VR. It’s where most people are going to try VR for the first time. Tommy Palm, Resolution Games

17

stationary computer and all the things that go with it. It’s where most people are going to try VR for the first time.” Bithell adds: “Mobile VR is a great entrance point. It is super available. When you compare the price of a PC or a console and a headset, it’s nowhere near what’s on mobile. People don’t really think of the phone as a big upfront cost either. “It’s also super portable - the other thing that people forget about mobile VR is that taking your phone and a small headset away with you, taking it home for Christmas or travelling with it, it becomes more available. The word spreads faster than if something is tethered at home. I can see a lot of these being taken home at Christmas. We’ll be trying to produce some content in updates to make sure people have that cool family Christmas opportunity with it. “I see it as a really great way of spreading the word with VR and a great way of introducing it to people.”

November 25th 2016

22/11/2016 17:18


INTERVIEW ATLUS

Atlus ain’t shrugging Alex Calvin catches up with Atlus CEO Naoto Hiraoka to talk about Persona 5, the declining Japanese console market and the state of the JRPG sector in the West

G

iant publisher and developer Atlus is behind some of the biggest titles coming out of Japan at present. With a strong performance from titles such as Persona 5, Atlus boss Naoto Hiraoka chalks 2016 up as a win: “2016 has been a great year for Atlus,” he says. “Though we’ve had fewer releases this year than 2015, we’ve had a strong showing of titles, with Odin Sphere Leifthrasir, Ace Team’s Deadly Tower of Monsters, SNK’s The King of Fighters XIV, and the latest entry in the Shin Megami Tensei series, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, which were all received very favorably. “In Japan, Etrian Odyssey V and Persona 5 were chart-toppers, and proved that our lineup is as strong as ever. “Persona 5’s release in the West is one of the largest localisation projects we’ve had to tackle to date, and we have confidence that it will become an essential JRPG title. It really was a great year for us.” PERSONA BEST Indeed, Persona 5 in particular has been a big seller for the firm. It was the fastest-selling Atlus title ever when it hit shelves in Japan, shifting 437,929 units in its first two weeks. The firm also has high expectations for the game’s Western performance. The title hits shelves in the US, Europe and the UK on April 4th 2017. “We could not imagine how players would react to Persona 5 at first,” Hiraoka says.

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Atlus published SNK’s King of Fighters XIV in America

“However, it has obliterated all expectations in Japan. The game’s unique style and aesthetic appeals to so many people beyond our traditional fanbase. Working closely with Sony Japan and achieving a simultaneous release with the PS4 Slim, I think we did well in distributing to a large audience. “It was incredible seeing people at TGS and E3 cosplaying as the characters before the game’s release, and that each trailer we released got over 1 million views. “Obviously we have very high expectations for it in the West, and feel that it will become a representative title of Atlus, not only in Japan but in the West as well. Each and every staff member is working extremely hard to ensure it sets the gold standard for our localisations and culturalisations.”

After our success in North America, I believe the next step is to move on to Europe. Naoto Hiraoka, Atlus

18

Yet it’s no secret that the Japanese console space is in trouble. In 2015, its games market fell to its lowest point in 26 years, with revenue dipping by 13 per cent year-on-year, according to data provided to MCV by Famitsu. There are many factors for this occurring, but the largest is undoubtedly the rise and now dominance of mobile releases in the Japanese market. It seems prudent then for Japanese companies in the ‘traditional’ games space to spread their business to other territories. “The sales ratio of Atlus titles is approximately the same, which is a very rare case in Japanesebased publishing,” Hiraoka says. “True, the market is narrowing thanks to the prevalence of mobile phone games, and the shrinking of the ‘otaku’ [geek] culture in Japan, but our target audience is not only Japan. After our success in North America, I believe the next step is to move on to Europe; there are many consumers who hold a strong interest in Japanese culture, such as France. We are striving to serve everyone as best we can.” It’s perhaps fortunate then that there has been growing popularity for JRPG titles in the West. Hiraoka even believes that current trends in games design are making these titles more approachable. “We’re seeing a resurgence of Japanese developers, that’s for certain,” he says. “There are a ton of JRPGs slated for early 2017, including Persona 5, that have a lot of buzz around them, which is good. They are still very much their own niche when you look at the average gamer’s tastes, but it

www.mcvuk.com

22/11/2016 17:39


ATLUS INTERVIEW SHINY DEAL FOR the last few years, Atlus had partnered up with publisher NIS America to release its games in Europe. But in April, the latter revealed to MCV that it had cut ties with Atlus. In short, the company said that since its purchase by Sega, Atlus had become more difficult to work with. That left many JRPG fans worried that titles like Persona 5 wouldn’t make it to Europe. But Deep Silver stepped in to release Atlus’ titles in the West. “One of the things that Atlus in the Americas prides itself on is being a leading Japanese subculture provider,” says Atlus CEO Naoto Hiraoka. “The only company with an understanding and track record of this is Deep Silver. They are the best partner we could ask for, and we will be working very closely with them going forward as we focus on spreading the Atlus brand to European territories.” Persona 5 is Atlus’ fastestselling game in Japan so far

seems to currently be a growing segment. We’re even seeing multiplayer shooters like Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 start to truly embrace story and world-building and characters, which is to say a lot of the mainstream gaming titles are making it easier or more acceptable for gamers to approach a 30-hour or longer JRPG. All in all, we’re very happy that JRPGs seemed to have returned from the brink, and we’re forging ahead by continuing to deliver these games to the west.” MAKING PROGRESS It wasn’t always this way, however. Altus says it has been working to engage with consumers who enjoy the Japanese subculture. “In recent years, Atlus has been working on our branding strategy,” Hiraoka explains.

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“The Japanese subculture consists of games, manga, anime and so on, and we focus on gaming as the core of our activities, hoping to become a leader, while delivering the best creative content to our fans. There was a stage where Japanese games went through a dark time. “However, with the appearance of the likes of Demon’s Souls, Persona 4 and Catherine, we were able to deliver products which caught the eye of overseas consumers once again. Atlus’ strength is developing RPGs, and creating what we are good at to deliver something enjoyable. That this elicits positive reactions from fans is our greatest pleasure.” Part of the growth in popularity of niche RPGs is that Japanese companies such as Atlus continue to support formats like the 3DS and PlayStation Vita outside of their home. Atlus has also

Persona 5 has obliterated all expectations in Japan. Naoto Hiraoka, Atlus

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announced it will be supporting Nintendo’s new Switch machine. “Although the Japanese, North American, and European markets differ greatly, Japan and North America still have a fervent fanbase,” Hiraoka explains. “As a third-party publisher for Nintendo’s platform, we have seen that 3DS owners are looking for mature role-playing game experiences, and JRPGs fit right into this genre. The PlayStation Vita is also a formidable piece of hardware, and it has a strong fanbase as well. It has become a solid home for fans of JRPGs, and we’re happy to contribute with Atlus-developed and Atluslocalised titles. “Our participation as a publisher for the Nintendo Switch has been announced, and while we don’t have any news on that front to share, the device is making for some interesting potential.”

November 25th 2016

22/11/2016 17:39


THE BIG GAME STEEP

Steep of faith Ubisoft is applying its expertise in open-world games to the winter sports genre. Seth Barton asks why it’s resurrecting the genre and how it’s going about launching the new IP

E

xtreme sports titles were a regular feature of turnof-the-millennium gaming. Alongside the likes of Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding and Dave Mirra’s BMX, there sat snowboarding titles such as Amped, 1080 and, of course, SSX. EA returned to the latter franchise in 2012 but the genre has seen little activity of late. Now, Ubisoft is bringing the genre bang up-to-date with a new IP: Steep. We talked to Steep’s Arnaud Ragot, game director (far right), and Ollie Coe (right), brand manager. There may have been many winter sports games before, but Steep looks to traverse fresh powder, figuratively and literally. Coe describes the game as “an open-world action sports game set across a massive representation of the Alps, with further areas to be added post-launch.” “We wanted to add more to the genre with Steep. There is an exploration dimension never before seen, taking players on a voyage in the Mont Blanc or Matterhorn. We really wanted to give players a sense of freedom, to let them express their creativity. It’s not only about tricks or speed anymore,” explains Ragot. Gone then are the usual tightly-designed tracks, along with it a single-sport focus, in preference for a plethora of downhill sports. Skis, wingsuit, snowboard and paragliders all feature in the initial game, but these will be expanded upon with planned DLC including winter sledging and base jumping.

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Ubisoft’s impressive technology has been put to striking effect in Steep

It’s a truly modern new IP then, a game with a wide initial scope, that will extend over time well beyond what’s included with the initial boxed launch. Coe explains: “Players will be able to instantly switch between [sports] as they go solo or drop in side-by-side with other players. They will also be able to record and share their most insane stunts and epic wipeouts, then challenge friends to try out their custom lines on the mountain.” Open-world and Ubisoft have become somewhat synonymous over recent years, so we wondered if Steep was following some kind of master plan? “Actually, part of the reasons why we decided to pitch Steep to our management is seeing an early demo of Ghost Recon Wildlands,” Ragot says. “The terrain tech really

December 2nd is a fantastic opportunity to appeal to present buyers. It’s also the start of the ski season. Ollie Coe, Ubisoft

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showed a huge environment with a level of detail around the player that was really exciting. For the first time, we had that feeling of being immersed in a massive landscape, and, when looking around us, we could see awesome terrain opportunities for us to go and experience while riding.” SHARING A RIDE Recording and sharing looks to be at the heart of Steep, after all, modern enthusiasm for downhill sports has largely sprung from YouTube clips of daredevil antics. This has therefore informed both the design and marketing of the title. Ragot says: “Content sharing is one of the key features in Steep – through live performance sharing and community videos. Sharing and making videos are two

www.mcvuk.com

22/11/2016 18:03


STEEP THE BIG GAME

Players will be able to get right into the action in firstperson mode - but there’s no VR support announced yet

Publicity for the game goes well beyond YouTube though, as Coe describes: “As well as working with prominent gaming YouTubers, we’ve also been able to work closely with partners and influencers from the action sports world, including Red Bull, GoPro, North Face and a plethora of professional athletes, which has allowed us to speak with authenticity to an engaged action sports audience.” “One of the main focal points of the marketing campaign was the open beta, which kicked off between the 18th and 21st November. Betas offer a great opportunity for a large number of players to try out a generous chunk of the game ahead of launch, so we supported this with a heavy investment on digital display, first party

very important elements, giving players the means to free their creative spirit using video editing tools. They can re-watch their latest rides, juggle different camera angles and apply numerous effects - slow motion, for example. These videos can be shared on various social networks.” “Steep was designed with ‘sharing’ in mind, so, for sure, we’re hoping riders will play for longlasting hours of fun and show their best moves to the world. We had a lot of players testing the game during our beta phase, and we have been so impressed by the creativity they’ve expressed when it came to sharing.”

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dash[board presence] and paid social to encourage players to suit-up and jump in. “To support the launch, we have another strong push across digital display, a substantial VOD plan, and a media and content partnership with Factory Media all geared towards targeting action sports and videogames fans.” In terms of real-world marketing activity in the UK, Coe says: “We were one of the key sponsors for the Telegraph Ski & Snowboard Show, which allowed us to bring the game to a large snow sports audience and the feedback we had was really positive. We have some key activations planned on the PR side of the campaign, but you will have to look out for these on the week of launch.” Such partners aren’t just there to push the title at retail though: “Our synergies with the real brands are here to immerse players even more in this universe. It could be gear, participating in real-life inspired events or using Go-Pro cameras

November 25th 2016

22/11/2016 18:04


THE BIG GAME STEEP

Steep is looking to build a long-lasting community of players, while expanding the game’s scope and scale

like in real life. Together, we made sure to nail the details to make everything feel legitimate, and to understand the culture and codes of these communities,” adds Ragot. PLAYING LIVE Day One sales on established franchises have been difficult in recent weeks, as has been widely reported. To succeed these days games need staying power, they need to build community, becoming evolving online experiences for consumers, what Ubisoft calls ‘live’ games. Ragot says in response: “We, of course, want our players to enjoy Steep for a long time with a comprehensive live program, and to build a strong and enthusiastic community. We will listen to players and adapt our future plans to what they love, enjoy and need. We already disclosed

November 25th 2016

20 22 MCV902 Steep Feature_FINAL.indd 3

some details about our upcoming Season Pass content, including new sports, such as sled or rocket wings. We also have future plans for exciting new regular content to keep all our community entertained going forward.” Community is at the heart of success every live game, Ragot agrees: “You know, it’s part of the DNA of the team, our culture and our inspiration. Mountain and sports are generally better when shared together. The universe depicted in Steep is highly social in real life, which has inspired us from the beginning.”

We want our players to enjoy Steep for a long time with a comprehensive live program, and to build a strong and enthusiastic community.

TOTAL WIPEOUT Ragot is upbeat about the game’s potential: “We really feel players have been waiting for this kind of game for a long time, and the feedback we received from our announcement at E3 until now has

Arnaud Ragot, Ubisoft

22

proved us right. We are convinced there’s still an audience for this genre. Whether you are a fan of action sports or simply enjoy the adrenaline of video games, Steep offers a brand new experience with unique gameplay opportunities.” With the game arriving on December 2nd, it will avoid the pile-up of big titles in November. Coe comments on the later launch: “Releasing at the start of December is a fantastic opportunity to appeal to gifters near Christmas. It’s also the perfect timing ahead of the start of the ski season.” It won’t have the slopes entirely to itself though. Snowboarding title Mark McMorris Infinite Air launched back in October and didn’t exactly carve up the charts. Ubisoft, though, sounds confident that Steep will nail a surer landing next week.

www.mcvuk.com

22/11/2016 18:04


The Games Guide is a hard copy catalogue that will feature the best names in Games Development, Publishing, & Localisation, Design, Recruitment, Accessories, Merchandise, The Games Guide is a hardQA copy catalogue that will feature the best names in Games Distribution, Events and more. details on who they are, what they do and how to get in Development, Publishing, QA &Including Localisation, Design, Recruitment, Accessories, Merchandise, touch with them. Distribution, Events and more. Including details on who they are, what they do and how to get in

touch with them. This comprehensive guide to the games industry will be distributed within the full print run of both MCV and Develop; also it will be distributed at leading industry events during including This comprehensive guide to the games industry will be distributed within the2017, full print run ofGDC, both E3, Gamescom, Develop Brighton, Future Games Summit, and more. MCV and Develop; also it will be distributed at leading industry events during 2017, including GDC, E3, Gamescom, Develop Brighton, Future Games Summit, and more. As well as the hard copy, the directory listings will feature within every single issue of both magazines all year, withdirectory being available view as a digital ‘Games Guide’ As well as the hard along copy, the listingsto will feature within copy everyunder singlethe issue of both tab via www.mcvuk.com andbeing www.develop-online.net magazines all year, along with available to view as a digital copy under the ‘Games Guide’ tab via www.mcvuk.com and www.develop-online.net

Sections in Directory Sections in Directory ■ Audio ■ ■ Creative Audio Outsourcing ■ ■ Creative Creative Agency Outsourcing ■ Distribution ■ Creative Agency ■ ■ Events Distribution ■ ■ Game EventsDevelopment ■ ■ Game Game Engine Development ■ Gaming Accessories and Merchandise ■ Game Engine ■ QA and and Testing ■ Localisation, Gaming Accessories Merchandise ■ Media and Marketing ■ Localisation, QA and Testing ■ ■ Publishing Media and Marketing ■ ■ Recruitment Publishing ■ ■ Retail Recruitment ■ Retail

To gain more information on the Games Guide 2017 please contact Conor Tallon on ctallon@nbmedia.com or on Charlotte Nangle on 2017 cnangle@nbmedia.com. To gain more information the Games Guide please contact Conor Tallon on ctallon@nbmedia.com or Charlotte Nangle on cnangle@nbmedia.com. XX TNXXX Advert_v1.indd 1

03/11/2016 13:15


INTERVIEW SUPERINDIE

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Superindie As Koch Media’s Superindie distribution label celebrates its first birthday, Marie Dealessandri catches up with Hayden Saye, who gives his insight on the sector and explains why retailers should consider joining the initiative

O

nly 4.7 per cent of UK physical sales of games are generated through indie retailers, according to ERA’s annual survey. Competing with High Street giants such as GAME and online behemoths like Amazon: that’s the daily struggle of indie retailers. Which is why distributor Koch Media decided to launch its Superindie initiative exactly one year ago – because indie retailers need to distinguish themselves from the big players. “We have seen that a lot of the independent retailers have had to diversify from selling just games to other hobby items such as trading cards,” says Koch Media’s key account and independent retail manager Hayden Saye about the indie sector. “Most people visit independent stores as they like the personal one-on-one service they receive from the store owners. They also tend to stock more niche titles giving consumers a larger choice or loyalty points for these products. And now, with Superindie, they can receive exclusive offers that they may not receive from a larger outlet.” Satisfying the individual needs of smaller retailers is at the core the initiative. Saye continues: “When Koch Media formed Superindie last year, we looked at the independent retail sector and recognised that it had evolved significantly, and is constantly evolving. We saw a lot of creativity, a lot of diverse outlets and, of course, at the heart of the independent retailer is their entrepreneurial spirit. As a supportive distributor we recognised that we needed

November 25th 2016

24 MCV902 Super Indie_FINAL.indd 1

Exclusive T-shirts are amongst the ‘points of difference’ Superindie is offering to indie retailer for each unit purchased

to change the way we supported independent retailers with their businesses and created a suite of services that recognises individual requirements and allows them to remain competitive.“

Exclusive items... help [indie] retailers compete with the larger stores.

POINT OF DIFFERENCE The Superindie program promises to give indie retailer “an exclusive point of difference for each unit purchased on all major releases,” Saye explains – that can be DLC, free point of sale or T-shirts. And it’s on the right track. “The first year has been successful for us; the easiest way to measure this success is in the number of independent retailers that have signed up to the program which has increased significantly,” Saye says – without giving any figure though. “As the number of customers grows so does the amount of product that they sell. The retailers themselves have commented that the ease

Hayden Saye, Koch Media

24

of the program, and the offers, has increased their business. The exclusive items that we give with each unit purchased from Koch Media gives them a great difference to help the retailers compete with the larger stores. This point of difference for independent retail was at the heart of the Superindie initiative from the start.” Of course, finding a ‘point of difference’ is easier when you’re Koch Media, since the firm is the distribution partner for triple-A companies such as Sega, Square Enix and Codemasters. “One of our main ambitions when we launched Superindie was to have exclusive DLC for one of the triple-A products we distribute, which we have achieved for Final Fantasy XV,” Saye reveals. “This DLC offer has been exceedingly popular and resulted in Final Fantasy XV becoming the best performing title with independent retailers since the program commenced.” But Final Fantasy XV’s DLC is certainly not the only ace up Superindie’s sleeve. “The team is constantly listening to and learning from independent retailers,” Saye continues. “We have hosted round table events for some of our key independent retailers; which gives them the opportunity to provide us with direct feedback. We ask them what kind of special offers work the best for them and implement these ideas in our exclusives.” He concludes: “We will continue to grow our customer base, and continue to work closely with our customers to deliver what they actually want and need to drive their business forward.”

www.mcvuk.com

22/11/2016 17:04


D-PAD STUDIO INTERVIEW

INDIE INTERVIEW Year of the Owlboy After a bruising nine years of development, Norway’s D-Pad Studio finally released indie pixel art platformer Owlboy this month. Alex Calvin catches up with programmer Jo-Remi Madsen to find out what took so long

I

n 2011, Norwegian development studio D-Pad released a trailer for their upcoming title, Owlboy. The video promised a release date that same year for the indie pixel-art game. It would be another five years before Owlboy launched on digital storefronts. “Oh, we made so many mistakes,” programmer Jo-Remi Madsen laughs. “We released the demo with that trailer and in the first couple of days a million people had downloaded the game. They started giving us feedback on it. We decided to rework almost the entire game based on their feedback. Even though the game was slated for that very same year, we ended up with five years of improvements and re-writing the story. “A lot of the reason why it was delayed was because a lot of things changed in our lives in particular. Therefore, things changed in the game, too. If you write a novel and change a character’s name or give them a different trait, you need to rewrite the entire book to accommodate for the changes. That’s essentially what we had to do.”

YEARS GONE BY In total, Owlboy’s development cycle was a bruising nine years, during while D-Pad was supported both by their parents and funds from the Norwegian Government. In not hitting the initial 2011 release date, Owlboy also missed out on the start of the indie boom, which came into full effect in 2012. “To us, it was kind of frightening,” Madsen admits. “But at the same time, we were happy that people started to embrace both indie projects and pixel art. This year, some of the greatest games are indie titles. We’re kind of happy that, even though a lot of people are under the impression that indie IPs are unprofessionally made and smaller projects with no ambition, normally it’s the other way around. Undertale was one of those titles that proved that point. They tried to do something that came as a huge surprise to everyone. “So I’m just really happy that people have changed their view on indie games. But it also means we are in for a bit of competition, of

www.mcvuk.com

25 MCV902 Indie Interview_FINAL.indd 1

Owlboy just released on PC but D-Pad’s Madsen says the team is aiming at releasing the game on consoles next year

We are happy that people have embraced both indie projects and pixel art. This year, some of the greatest games are indie titles. Jo-Remi Madsen, D-Pad

00 25

course. That’s never really been a huge concern of ours because we’re not a big company. Rather, it probably gives us more attention. Some of those games proved that you can make break-out hits even while using pixel art.” So far, Owlboy is only available on PC. Madsen says that though D-Pad is planning on bringing the game to console, it simply didn’t have the capability to do this on the same day as the PC release. “After all of these years of fans waiting for the game, we wanted to get it out as soon as possible as to not get torn apart,” Madsen says. “So that’s why we released on PC first because it’s much quicker to update and iterate on that platform, especially through Steam. It’s the opposite on console – if you release a game there, you need to make sure that everything works. “Focusing on PC first was just a natural order of things. If we launched on console and PC simultaneously, it would put a lot of pressure on the team and I think it wouldn’t have been received quite as well, because it would have had a lot of issues that we couldn’t have fixed in time. That’s why I’m super happy with the way we did things. Next year, we’ll of course try and get the game out for consoles because there are so many people asking for it. “It would be stupid for us not to pursue that.”

November 25th 2016

22/11/2016 17:30


MARKETPLACE

SHELF LIFE

MCV catches up with Bill Stephens of Abbey Video Games to find out why he is focusing on second hand games, how his retro stock has been performing and how pre-orders have fallen How has business been for you recently? Quiet. I think it’s down to economics at the moment. People are tightening their belts, or at least I think they are. What has been selling well lately? Well, not Call of Duty. Let’s put it this way, a few years ago we had 48 pre-orders to Call of Duty. The next year, we had 24. The following one, 12. This

PRE-ORDER CHARTS

Most people are going online and are checking whoever buys it on YouTube and getting a low-down of the gameplay. They’re judging if it’s worth buying there. Then they’ll come in and ask if we have a copy.

year; none. We only buy in copies that have been preordered – we don’t buy spares. Honestly, we make more money off second hand games than we do off brand new. If we get a brand new game in, we’re selling it at £49 having bought it in at £42.85. Take valueadded tax off that and we’re making £2.

What are you selling on the hardware side of things? How are consoles performing? We can’t even compete on the console. You have Black

Why do you think pre-orders have softened?

PRICE CHECK: MANCHESTER

TOP 10 PRE-ORDERS 1. FINAL FANTASY XV DAY 1 EDITION Square Enix, PS4

2. The Last Guardian - Exclusive Launch Edition Sony.........................................................................PS4

BATTLEFIELD 1 CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE

3. Horizon Zero Dawn Sony.........................................................................PS4 4. Persona 5: Collectors Deep Silver...........................................................PS4

7. Mass Effect Andromeda EA .............................................................................PS4

9. Hitman Square Enix..........................................................PS4 10. Ghost Recon Wildlands Inc. The Peru Ubisoft ................................................................. PS4

EA, XO

£54.99

£49.99

£49.99

£49.99

£48.99

£44.99

£44.99

£45.99

£45

£48

£48

£35

£44

£42

£42

£36.95

£50.96

£47.56

£47.56

£46.97

SPACE RIFT

EAGLE FLIGHT

THE VOICE

BitComposer’s episodic sci-fi adventure is out on PS4 and Steam

Ubisoft’s VR flying title comes to HTC Vive later next month

ITV’s The Voice is coming to PS4, Xbox, Wii and Wii U today

OUT: NOW

26 27 MCV902 Retail_FINAL.indd 1

Blizzard, PS4

IN STORE

8. The Last Guardian: Collectors Edition Sony.........................................................................PS4

November 25th 2016

TITANFALL 2

ONLINE

6. Final Fantasy VII Square Enix..........................................................PS4

The latest digital releases coming to market

OVERWATCH

Activision Blizzard, PS4

5. Nintendo Switch Console Nintendo.................................................................N/A

UPLOADING

EA, XO

OUT: DECEMBER 20TH

26

OUT: NOVEMBER 25TH

www.mcvuk.com

22/11/2016 17:46


MARKETPLACE

Abbey Video Games 147 High Street Arbroath, Angus

Friday coming – we buy in an Xbox One for £220 or £230, then you have Argos selling a new one and a game for £249 – we can’t compete. We make more money on second hand sales than our brand new sales. Us small retailers have to rely on these – we make no money on new games. I see you are also selling retro stock. How is that performing?

Phone: 01241 874244 Facebook: /Abbeyvideogames

Our retro sales have gone up. To pick one example, somebody brought in a SNES to sell recently. Within two hours we had sold it on for £100. We regularly get customers looking for retro stock from as far as Aberdeen. They have started to know us as a place that sells retro games and consoles, or even accessories, like controllers. We have customers regularly buying PlayStation 2, Mega Drive and SNES games.

INCOMING TITLE

WANT TO FEATURE YOUR OUTLET IN MCV? Contact mdealessandri@nbmedia.com or call 02038 894900

Only four days to go before Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XV finally hits shelves, alongside the PC version of Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs 2 FORMAT

GENRE

PUBLISHER

TELEPHONE

DISTRIBUTOR

November 25th Rugby Union Team Manager 2017

PC

Management sim

Alternative

01977 555 000

Open

Steins;Gate 0

PS4/Vita

Visual novel

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Open

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PC

Simulation

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01902 861 527

Pavilion

Final Fantasy XV

PS4/XO

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Square Enix

01216 253 388

CentreSoft

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01279 822 822

Exertis

PS4/XO/PC

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THQ Nordic

01279 822 800

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November 29th

December 1st The Dwarves December 2nd 7th Dragon III

3DS

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Deep Silver

01256 385 200

Koch Media

Picross 3D: Round 2

3DS

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Nintendo

01753 483700

Open

Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse

3DS

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Deep Silver

01256 385 200

Koch Media

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01279 822 822

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3DS

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01753 483700

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PC/XO

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December 6th Dead Rising 4 December 9th The Last Guardian December 31st Airport Architect

www.mcvuk.com

26 27 MCV902 Retail_FINAL.indd 2

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November 25th 2016

22/11/2016 17:46


POKÉMON SUN & MOON

POKÉMON SUN & MOON There’s a wealth of Pokémon merchandise launching alongside Sun and Moon. Marie Dealessandri has selected the best items

TEN months after being announced, Pokémon Sun and Moon hit shelves this Wednesday. Nintendo’s new pair of 3DS titles bring a wealth of novelties to the popular franchise, including side quests, minigames, new battle moves, a less gym-focused structure, and, of course, fresh Pokémon and a new region: Alola. It looks likely the Pokémon Go phenomenon will boost demand for these new entries. When the app launched this summer, sales

Pokémon tie-in items have been ‘flying out the door’ said BioWorld.

for Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire went through the roof, increasing over 140 per cent in just one week, according to GfK. The 3DS also benefited from the success of Pokémon Go, with sales for the XL version of the hardware increasing 222 per cent for the week ending July 30th compared to the same period last year, while 2DS had a 234 growth in sales that same week. The Pokémon Go effect has now faded a little, but Pokémon

NEW NINTENDO 3DS XL ORANGE/BLACK + POKÉMON SUN STEELBOOK CASE PACK One of the various bundles being released alongside Pokémon Sun and Moon is this New 3DS XL pack. It includes an orange and black console, a Pikachu pouch to protect the hardware, a Steelbook version of the game you chose and a figurine – Solgaleo if you bought Sun or Lunala if you purchased Moon. SRP: £224.99 Manufacturer: Nintendo Distributor: Open Contact: 01753 483 700

POKÉMON MOON STEELBOOK + LUNALA FIGURINE

SUN & MOON OFFICIAL STRATEGY GUIDE COLLECTOR’S VAULT

PIKACHU GYM T-SHIRT

Sun and Moon have their own Steelbook versions, which both come with legendary Pokémon figurines.

Prima’s Sun and Moon strategy guide includes a journal, pen, art prints, bookmark, decals and a map. It launches on December 9th.

This unisex T-shirt is part of Insert Coin’s new Pokémon collection.

SRP: £44.99 Manufacturer: Nintendo Distributor: Open Contact: 01753 483 700

SRP: £89.79 Manufacturer: Prima Games Distributor: DK Contact: sales@uk.dk.com

SRP: £22 Manufacturer: Insert Coin Distributor: Insert Coin Contact: 01702 521 850

November 25th 2016

28 29 MCV902 Margin Maker_FINAL.indd 1

28

www.mcvuk.com

22/11/2016 17:36


g

POKÉMON SUN & MOON

Sponsored by

gaming ga am min g ami mn ing ng merchandise uk merc rrcch cha

Sun and Moon have remained at the top of the most pre-ordered games on Amazon since then. This means that Pokémon merchandise will probably be ranking high on Christmas lists. Apparel licensee BioWorld Europe told MCV earlier this year that Pokémon tie-in items have been ‘flying out the door’. “Many retailers are requesting special Pokémon products and we’re developing a wider collection to meet that demand,”

said product manager Leon van der Made. Since then, BioWorld Europe, and others, have upped their games and launched new ranges – some of them based on the first generation of Pokémon, to go alongside Pokémon Go, others related to Sun and Moon’s Rowlet, Litten and Popplio. We should also hear more from the monster catching series next year, as Pokémon should be part of the Switch launch line up.

NINTENDO 2DS SPECIAL EDITION: POKÉMON MOON + PIN The Nintendo 2DS also has its special Pokémon bundle, which comes with a pin related to either Sun or Moon. The console itself has a little Pikachu on it and has the game pre-installed. SRP: £89.99 Manufacturer: Nintendo Distributor: Open Contact: 01753 483 700

POKÉMON POKÉ BALL COLLECTOR PRINT

PLUSH POKÉ BALL ASSORTMENT

POKÉMON HEAT CHANGE MUG

A 30 x 40 cm high-resolution print, which comes with a black wooden frame.

Catch ‘em all with these soft Poké Balls – OK, so they won’t catch anything really but they will make a nice Christmas gift for Poké fans.

This heat-activated mug will release in March 2017, which is curiously also the date when the Nintendo Switch launches.

SRP: £16.99 Manufacturer: GB Eye Distributor: GB Eye Contact: uksales@gbeye.com

SRP: $8.99 (£7.20) Manufacturer: Tomy Distributor: Abysse Corp Contact: contact@abyssecorp.com

SRP: £8.99 Manufacturer: GYE Distributor: Heo UK Contact: info@heo.com

www.mcvuk.com

28 29 MCV902 Margin Maker_FINAL.indd 2

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November 25th 2016

22/11/2016 17:36


MARKETING, PR & CREATIVE AGENCIES

LEGAL

AUDIO IN

GERARD FOX LAW

Tel: 0044 7985678437 www.audioin.co.uk ........................................................................................................

BIG TOP PR

Tel: 07784 778197 www.bigtop-pr.co.uk ........................................................................................................

DEAD GOOD MEDIA

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

STUDIO DIVA

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

FLUID

Tel: +44 (0)121 212 0121 www.fl uidesign.co.uk ........................................................................................................

KENNEDY MONK

Tel: 0207 636 9142 www.kennedymonk.com ........................................................................................................

charne@sprintmail.com www.gerardfoxlaw.com ........................................................................................................

TRADE BODY UKIE

Tel: +44 (0) 207 534 0580 www.ukie.org.uk ........................................................................................................

PUBLISHING

Tel: +44 (0) 114 278 7100 www.uberagency.com/ ........................................................................................................

QA & LOCALISATION, PAYMENT & SOLUTION EXEQUO

Tel: +1 425 279 7855 sbonfi ls@exequo.com ........................................................................................................

LA MARQUE ROSE

Tel: +33 1 43 14 88 00 info@lamarquerose.com ........................................................................................................

UNIVERSALLY SPEAKING

Tel: +44 (0) 1480210621 www.usspeaking.com ........................................................................................................

CREATIVE DISTRIBUTION

Tel: +44 (0) 208 664 3456 www.creativedistribution.co.uk/ ........................................................................................................

DC GAMES GROUP

Tel: +971-50-9287220 www.Doostan-Co.com ........................................................................................................

INCOMM

Tel: 01489 588 200 www.incomm.com ........................................................................................................

OK MEDIA LTD

FUNBOX MEDIA LTD info@funboxmedia.co.uk www.funboxmedia.co.uk ........................................................................................................

DEVELOPMENT SERVICES & RECRUITMENT AUDIOMOTION

UBER

RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION & MANUFACTURING

Tel: + 44 (0) 8701 600 504 www.audiomotion.com ........................................................................................................

Tel: 0207 688 6789 www.oklogistics.de ........................................................................................................

PLAY DISTRIBUTION info@playdistribution.com www.playdistribution.com ........................................................................................................

WHOLESGAME info@wholesgame.com www.wholesgame.com ........................................................................................................

OPM RECRUITMENT

PERIPHERALS, ACCESSORIES & MERCHANDISE

RAGTAG DEVELOPMENTS LTD

GAMING MERCHANDISE UK LTD

Tel: +44 (0)1295 817617 www.ragtagdev.com ........................................................................................................

hello@gamingmerchandiseuk.com www.gamingmerchandiseuk.com ........................................................................................................

REMOTE CONTROL PRODUCTS

LIME DISTRIBUTION

Tel: +44 [0] 1206 214421 http://opmjobs.com/ ........................................................................................................

Tel: +49 (0) 89 / 210 205 70 http://www.r-control.de/ ........................................................................................................

SOUNDING SWEET LTD.

Tel: +44 (0) 1789 297453 www.soundingsweet.com ........................................................................................................

Tel: 01622 845 161 www.limedistribution.co.uk ........................................................................................................

PERFORMANCE DESIGNED PRODUCTS LTD

Tel: 01628 509 047 www.pdp.com ........................................................................................................

TO LIST YOUR COMPANY HERE AND ONLINE EVERY WEEK PLEASE CONTACT CNANGLE@NBMEDIA.COM OR CALL 020 7354 6000 MCV Directory 2016 DPS.indd 1

22/11/2016 13:25


THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT AGENCIES AND SERVICE COMPANIES

COMPANY PROFILE / UBER

KEY CONTACTS: Richard Benjamin

richard@uberagency.com

ADDRESS: 28-31 Gilbert South Street Park Hill Sheffi eld S2 5QY

Greg Mathews

gregm@uberagency.com

OUR name means over, above, more than, and we work hard everyday to deliver results that live up to our name. For 12 years the team at Über have created memorable and effective campaigns that build on an unrivalled history of big brand experience. From Tomb Raider to Call of Duty, Mortal Kombat to Lord of the Rings, Skylanders to Aliens, Marvel to DC – the biggest icons in gaming have all received the Über treatment. What gives us the edge is that we don’t just work in one industry, trotting out the expected solution time after time. With a client portfolio covering not just gaming but retail, technology, the arts and public sector we have a greater understanding of what works and what doesn’t, and how to connect with people across an ever changing media landscape. With a list of recent campaigns for clients such as BAFTA, BFI, The Hobbit, Top Man, Crabtree & Evelyn, The Perfume Shop and Tombola, you can see clients across all sectors rely on our unique perspective. The services we provide are as complete as our sector expertise, with an integrated offering covering TV commercials, trailers, branding, key art, packaging, print, POS, digital and social media. Whatever your requirements there is an Über solution for you. Campaign Magazine Top 100 – no.35 The Drum Design Census 2015 – Elite Top 5 The Drum’s Integrated Agency Of The Year - 2014 RAR Recommended Top 20 Agency Roses Creative Awards – Best Online Video/Film ‘Aliens: Colonial Marines’

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

MCV Directory 2016 DPS.indd 2

22/11/2016 13:25


DIRECTORY

WHO?

INSIDER’S GUIDE UCHANNEL MANAGEMENT

Specialism: YouTube Management

Contact: W: www.uchannelmanagement.com E: sam.barkaway@uchannelmgmt.com

Director Sam Barkaway discusses uChannel Management’s good start and what the firm is looking forward to Tell us about your company. uChannel connects a variety of different influencers to brands, to create innovative and exciting ad campaigns. What successes have you seen recently? We have seen great success through a few current ads – one company wants to have a XL month deal with us for ads (it does not wish to be named). We have also seen good success connecting top tech influencers to promote Adobe stock.

What are you currently working on? We are working on multiple ad deals at the moment. We also have some big tech and food brands in our marketing pipeline, as well as helping grow a relapse prevention company – this is purely to help a good cause.

exciting. As well as this, Pokémon has been up there all year, with Go and Sun and Moon coming out. What are you looking forward to in games over the next 12 months? I’d be looking forward to seeing how VR develops. Red Dead Redemption 2 is going to be a huge hit game hopefully dropping next year, as the first game has such a huge fan base and was an amazing game.

What are the biggest trends in the games industry affecting you right now? Right now, aside from the usual sports, MMOs, shooters, racing genres, VR is pretty hot and

DISC REPAIR

TOTAL DISC REPAIR

Tel: +44 (0) 1202 489500

November 25th 2016

32 33 34 MCV902 Directory_FINAL.indd 1

Web: www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk

32

www.mcvuk.com

23/11/2016 11:14


DIRECTORY

FINK

CREATIVE

DISTRIBUTION

CLICK ENTERTAINMENT

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

Tel: +44 (0) 208 6643456 ENARXIS DYNAMIC MEDIA

Web: www.finkcreative.com

Tel: +44 (0)203 137 3781

email: sales@click-entertainment.com

DISTRIBUTION CURVEBALL LEISURE Click_small_Ad_Mar_2016.indd 1

Web: www.creativedistribution.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0) 1792 652521

DISTRIBUTION

SONY DADC

DISTRIBUTION 31/03/2016

11:31

Web: www.curveball-leisure.com DISTRIBUTION

Empowering your creative business

Tel: +44 207 361 8000 games@sonydadc.com

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DIRECTORY

L3I

GAMING ACCESSORIES

Tel: 01923 881000

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LIME DISTRIBUTION

GAMING ACCESSORIES

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ADVERTISE WITH US

WANT TO ADVERTISE IN OUR DIRECTORY?

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

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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION Sponsored by

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

BELGIUM

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

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

IRAN

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

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

SWEDEN

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

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

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

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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

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

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November 25th 2016

22/11/2016 15:13


AROUND THE WORLD Sponsored by

INTERNATIONAL NEWS FIFA hackers stole millions from EA, FBI believes A hackers group called RANE Developments has allegedly earned over $15m by tricking EA’s servers EA was the victim of a sophisticated hacking program that tapped into unearned FIFA coin funds. That’s what the FBI has claimed, after it came to light that it is taking four men to court for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. It is alleged that the defendants, who operated under the name RANE Developments, earned in the region of $15m-$18m from the exploit between 2013 and late 2015. In September last year the FBI seized millions in cash and several luxury cars – including a Lamborghini – from the group. Nearly $2.9m was

November 25th 2016

36 37 MCV902 International News_FINAL.indd 1

also taken from a bank account owned by one of the accused, Anthony Clark. The scam worked by using a tool to trick EA’s servers into thinking a game had been played, after which an amount of the virtual coin currency was awarded. The group were then able to sell this illicit virtual currency onto various other third parties. One defendant, Ricky Miller (who was the owner of the Lamborghini), has already pleaded guilty. Their operation was uncovered with help from Austin Alcala, a member

The FBI seized millions in cash and several luxury cars from RANE Developments.

36

of wider hacking collective Xbox Underground. He helped the group to obtain the Xbox 360 dev kits and software needed to engineer the hacking tool. EA’s digital profits from the game are immense. As we reported last week, EA earned £18m in just over a month from digital sales for and around its current FIFA 17 title according to SuperData’s chart. Amazingly it was also still pulling in over £3m a month from last year’s FIFA 16 during the same period. So it’s easy to see how the coins were siphoned from the game’s digital economy without immediate alarm. The trial kicked off last week.

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22/11/2016 17:33


AROUND THE WORLD

Daytona USA gets makeover Legendary racer slipstreams back into arcades, but can it powerslide onto consoles? THE unlikely return of retro classic Daytona USA to arcades has been seen in motion for the first time. Daytona Championship USA 3 was available to play for attendees of Sega’s booth at the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2016 in Orlando Florida. It’s completely updated, but the developer has deliberately given it a vector retro look that’s wonderfully reminiscent of the original. There’s no word yet on a release on home consoles or PC, but it’s seems highlylikely as a digital release given

the enduring popularity of the original arcade hit. That would make a rare return to the days when arcade releases drove console release schedules. Daytona USA debuted in 1993 and quickly became an arcade hit. Two years later, it migrated from its AM2 arcade platform to homes via a Sega Saturn release. A PSN and Xbox Live arrival followed much later in 2011. A successful outing for Daytona could then see relaunches for the likes of Sega Rally and maybe even Virtua Cop.

Ubisoft execs accused of insider trading Execs may have profited illegally from sales before Watch Dogs and The Crew delays in 2013 FIVE Ubisoft executives have been accused of selling stock in the company ahead of two key game delays. It’s claimed that Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat and four other executives sold shares ahead of the announcement on October 15th 2013 that both Watch Dogs and The Crew were being delayed – news that saw the company’s share price drop by 25 per cent. The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) alleges that pre-knowledge of the announcement was the motivation for the sale. “Those individuals vigorously dispute their implication in this matter and the AMF’s interpretation of the facts,” the

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publisher has said in response. “Yves Guillemot, co-founder and CEO of Ubisoft, does not question the good faith of the people involved and has reassured them that they have his full support and trust. “Ubisoft itself has not been charged by the AMF. Moreover, three of the Canadian team members implicated in the AMF’s action today filed a motion with the Superior Court of Québec demanding that the procedure be declared invalid and seeking damages against AMF France and AMF Québec.” Ubisoft confirmed that the proceedings will continue in November at the Commission des Sanctions (sanctions board) in Paris.

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November 25th 2016

22/11/2016 17:33


OFF THE RECORD

OFF THE RECORD This week, Future’s Golden Joysticks return, the hills are alive with the sound of Skyrim and James Buckley sells out for GAME

GOING FOR GOLD THE Golden Joysticks once again returned to London’s Indigo2 to celebrate the best titles and personalities in the games industry. The big winner this year was Blizzard’s Overwatch, with the developer taking to the stage five times, picking up an armful of awards. The day kicked off with a boat party. Well. A drinks reception on a boat. Not quite as P-Diddy as it sounds (it was really cold on deck, but we can’t/ won’t blame Future for that). That was before a delicious meal, a great show and a brilliant afterparty at Brooklyn Bowl.

SELLING OUT RIGHT. So. GAME is running a Christmas ad campaign in which The Inbetweeners’ James Buckley openly talks about being paid to promote things for GAME. We’re fairly sure this is the High Street retailer taking a pop at YouTubers being paid huge amounts of money to flog new releases for companies. Well, we certainly hope this is the case.

SKYRIM IS THE LIMIT THE magnificent Palladium played host to the epic orchestral score of Skyrim last week. Fans and guests packed the theatre and were delighted by the Winterhold Orchestra, who not only played from Skyrim but also other instalments in the Elder Scrolls series and even a November 25th 2016

38 39 MCV902 Off The Record_FINAL.indd 1

piece from Fallout 4. The event was masterminded by Bethesda UK PR manager Mark Robins (@Markisskill), and was ably compered by modders supreme: Cam Robinson and Seb Ford (@ camandseb). A great night out then rolled onto the Graphic Bar for a jam-packed afterparty. Thanks to all at Bethesda who helped make this happen. 38

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22/11/2016 17:54


OFF THE RECORD

Green Man Gaming Asks...

Is it still worth pre-ordering games in the digital age? #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!

We need to stop preordering, the practise only benefits devs. Incentivising us to spend before the quality is confirmed

No. Not even before “the digital age” either.

@Davlonian

@El_Rustinho

It’s NEVER worth it, because a lot of game developers don’t deliver a solid product on release. Vote with your money.

It’s part of the hype for an upcoming release. If it offers interesting exclusives and a competitive deal, it is worth it.

@HopSqueak

@OGuthert

If the preorder allows early access and maybe exclusive content. But only exclusive aesthetic stuff. Not actual content.

If it’s a story game, yes. I wouldn’t wait for reviews on a new book I’m anticipating. It doesn’t seem like it would help.

@ItsMcDoodly

@MichaelofNorth

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