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REBELLION TAKES AIM ISSUE 903 FRIDAY DECEMBER 2ND 2016

FIRM HAS BIG PLANS FOR A BIGGER SNIPER ELITE P22

‘Xbox has got its mojo back’ UK marketing boss Eagle says strong Xbox One S sales have helped brand’s performance by Alex Calvin 2016 will be viewed as a tipping point for Xbox One. That’s according to Xbox UK marketing chief Harvey Eagle, who says that this was the year the brand ‘got its mojo back’. The exec cited strong sales of Microsoft’s slimmer and cheaper Xbox One S SKU, which hit shelves in September, as well as reception to its games. The Xbox One has always sold strongly, outperforming its highlysuccessful predecessor in terms of growth after launch. However, it has still trailed behind PlayStation 4 in terms of total units sold. But the new Xbox One S has helped Xbox One be the best-selling hardware in the UK for September and October. “It’s been a really good year so far, both in terms of sales and the reception to our new products – both consoles and games,” Eagle said. “We’re really pleased. Xbox has got its mojo back. I think we’ll look back at 2016 as a tipping point for Xbox One.”

He continued: “We couldn’t be happier with how [Xbox One S’ release] has gone so far. Since launch, Xbox One S has been Britain’s best-selling console in 2016. It’s a great product with great design and its 4K capabilities have been resonating really strongly. “We have a great selection of console bundles for those who have been buying for the first time. FIFA, Minecraft, Battlefield... whichever one you want with your console is a very strong option for consumers. We have some great exclusive games that are only

PLUS UBISOFT ON ‘GAMES AS A SERVICE’ 01 MCV903 Cover_V4.indd 1

playable on Xbox One. Lastly, the price point for Xbox One S is more attractive than ever for families and gamers.” Eagle is eager to continue this momentum into 2017, when the company is launching its new super-powered Project Scorpio console. “For us, it’s now important to build on the strong foundation we have established this year,” he said. “Momentum is very important in this industry, it gives confidence to retailers, to publishers, to consumers that they are making the right choice. That gives us a great platform for next year. We’re excited to see what 2017 will bring. We have Scorpio coming. There are more opportunities for gamers to play on both PC and console through our Xbox Play Anywhere feature, more great games coming out including Halo Wars 2, Scalebound and Sea of Thieves. There’s a lot for titles to look forward to next year with Xbox.” You can read more from Harvey Eagle in the December 9th issue of MCV.

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FUTURE GAMES SUMMIT ROUND-UP 30/11/2016 17:07


NEWS

Call of Duty tops charts in difficult month for boxed retail Boxed game revenue was down 14.4 per cent year-on-year – is Black Friday doing more harm than good? by Marie Dealessandri SHOOTER Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare took the No.1 spot in the November charts, making Activision Blizzard the No.1 publisher in both units and value for the month. Boxed unit sales were down 26 per cent compared to Black Ops III’s first month, though. And Activision’s shooter was not the only one to be affected by a decline, as the market as a whole has seen a 6.3 per cent dip in unit sales year-on-year. According to GfK’s figures, 3.9m games were sold between October 30th and November 26th 2016, whereas 4.1m units were shifted during the same period last year. However, data was collected a little earlier in the month last year, from October 25th to November 21st

1

CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE

2

FIFA 17

EA

3

Battlefield 1

EA

4

Watch Dogs 2

Ubisoft

5

Pokémon Sun

Nintendo

6

Pokémon Moon

Nintendo

7

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition

Bethesda

8

Forza Horizon 3

Microsoft

9

Grand Theft Auto V

Rockstar

10

Dishonored 2

ACTIVISION

Bethesda

2015, and didn’t include the crucial Black Friday weekend, which makes this year’s figures look weaker still. Over £140m was generated in revenue this November, compared to more than £163m in November 2015 – a dip of 14.4 per cent. There are a number of theories as to why the market has seen a dip year-on-year. Numerous titles, including Infinite Warfare, Watch Dogs 2, Dishonored 2 and Titanfall 2, underperformed compared to their predecessors. Retailers have also previously told MCV that there’s a weaker lineup of software in 2016. while the absence of PS3 and 360 titles on shelves has had a negative effect Consumers also held off spending in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, preferring to wait for the deals.

Games Industry Christmas Party sells out! The annual MCV Christmas party on this Tuesday supports both GamesAid and SpecialEffect charities THE Christmas party season kicks off on Tuesday, December 6th with our annual event, co-hosted by Develop and eSports Pro. We’re delighted to report that the event has once again sold out, and with all ticket revenue going to GamesAid, that’s brilliant news. This year’s party will once again take place at the Sway Bar in Holborn and will be festive themed, with lashings of complementary booze to get in you in the spirit, plus food to help soak it up. None of this would be possible without the support of our generous sponsors.

December 2nd 2016

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This year’s Games Industry Christmas Party will take place on December 6th

developer and publisher of social games, is our Shot sponsor. The Games Industry Christmas Party is also supported by our media partner UKIE. We also have SpecialEffect as a charity partner. We will

Amiqus, the games industry recruitment specialists, is our Mulled wine and Baubles sponsor; DingIt, the premium quality VoD service for gamers, is our Photobooth and Cocktail sponsor; and KamaGames, the global

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be collecting presents for the charity, if you would like to donate, please bring gifts to put under the Christmas tree for SpecialEffect to carry on doing their great work with people living with a disability. This year the charity welcomes: ■ Xbox One Consoles ■ PS4 Consoles ■ Xbox One Controllers ■ PS4 Controllers ■ PS3 Controllers Thanks to everyone who’s supporting the event and we look forward to seeing you on Tuesday.

www.mcvuk.com

30/11/2016 16:41


NEWS

Pre-order for The Last Guardian exceed Sony’s expectations by Marie Dealessandri PS4 exclusive The Last Guardian will be hitting shelves next week and, despite being in development for nearly ten years, there’s still a sizeable fan base eagerly waiting for its launch, Sony’s product manager Joe Palmer told MCV. “I can’t comment with specific details, but I can say that preorders for The Last Guardian are exceeding expectations,” he said. “We’ve seen a really positive response to the Collector’s Edition in particular, which despite its higher price point proves there’s a huge appetite for the game.” Japanese developer Fumito Ueda and his team started working on the spiritual successor to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus in 2007, with an official reveal being made at E3 2009 and a 2011 release date

THE EDITOR

scheduled. The title disappeared from public view before it opened Sony’s E3 2015 conference. The game is now set for a December 9th release date. With such a long development cycle, fulfilling players’ hopes is obviously a big concern for Sony - although the team has tried not to pay too much attention to the hype surrounding the title. “When you’re working on a game that has such incredibly high levels of expectation, it’s impossible not to consider the pressure of meeting player expectations,” Palmer added. “We’ve tried to avoid fuelling the hype by playing on the fact that people have been waiting a long time for this. We want people to be excited because the game looks incredible, not because of its complicated development story.”

FREAKY FRIDAY

A

nother year, another Black Friday, it’s surprisingly just how quickly we’ve adapted to our American cousins’ annual shopping bonanza - despite the fact it makes little sense for in UK. The timing of the sales, due to many having the day off after Thanksgiving, has no relevance in the UK, where we’re all at work. The combination of it and the now largely-forgotten ‘Cyber Monday’ into a weekend of deals is a phenomenon that simply boggles the rational mind. This year we’ve seen games launched in November, which have then had their retail prices slashed by up to £20 mere weeks later in order to drive up sales. It makes some sense to have loss-leading deals to get consumers into physical stores, where they may buy more while they’re there, but to slash the value of your product online, just as the main shopping season kicks off, seems like madness. Let’s hope that some common sense returns to the market next year.

Palmer says Sony’s marketing team has tried to avoid playing on the hype surrounding the title

4K CONFUSION Having said that, I frantically clicked on sites, signed up to price tracking services and even phoned a physical retailer in order to secure myself a shiny new TV for a few shekels less than it was a couple of weeks ago. Of course, as with many games, that ‘sale’ price hasn’t shot back up after the weekend, that’s just the price it is now. My new TV has all the latest features in order to make the most of my PS4 Pro - though

SPONSORED BY

PRE-ORDER TOP 10

1

THE LAST GUARDIAN - EXCLUSIVE LAUNCH EDITION (PS4)

2

Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)

3

Persona 5: Collectors (PS4)

4

South Park The Fractured But Whole - Inc Stick of Truth (PS4)

5

Nintendo Switch console

6

Final Fantasy VII (PS4)

7

Mass Effect Andromeda (PS4)

SONY

Sony Deep Silver Ubisoft Nintendo Square Enix EA

8

The Last Guardian: Collector’s Edition (PS4)

9

Hitman (PS4)

10

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands inc. The Peruvian Connection DLC (PS4) Ubisoft

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Sony Square Enix

03

The weekend of deals is a phenomenon that simply boggles the rational mind. you’d have to be a long-serving technology journalist to work that out and get it all working properly (OK for me at least). The TV industry isn’t doing a great job of explaining HDR TVs to consumers, PlayStation is largely leaving it to journalists to explain the differences between Pro and standard PS4s on a per-game basis. And even with that sorted, I had to delve deep into my TV’s menu system to get it all working properly. New tech always has its friction points but these could easily be improved upon. Even an up-to-date list of supported TVs, games and apps, would be really handy. If only there was someone who made both games consoles and TVs. ESPORTS PRO From a PS4 Pro to another new pro - eSports Pro. MCV has a shiny new sister site and a new home for all our eSports content. The eSports scene is exploding right now and there are huge opportunities on offer, which is why we’ve launched a dedicated site. Coming off the back of the packed eSports Industry Awards last week, the site has a great future. Get in contact with Andrew Wooden, awooden@ nbmedia.com with any queries.

December 2nd 2016

30/11/2016 16:41


CHEAT SHEET

UP & DOWN

Market Data

Black Friday helped sales increase 181 per cent while revenue grew 135 per cent £60m £15m

FOR ITS second week in the charts, Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection had just a 42 per cent sales dip

£58m 1,936,636 units

£30m £30m

£25m 651,196 units

£24m 688,244 units

Week Ending November 12th

Week Ending November 19th

BLACK FRIDAY promotions helped DriveClub’s sales increase 20,859 per cent

Week Ending November 26th

EVENT CALENDAR DECEMBER 2016 ........................................................................... GAMES INDUSTRY CHRISTMAS PARTY Sway Bar, London Tuesday, December 6th ■ MCV’s Games Industry Christmas Party is back on December 6th. ■ Like last year, the party will take place on at the Sway Bar in Holborn (London) and will run from 7.30pm. Tickets have now sold out, we look forward to seeing you there.

JANUARY 2017 ........................................................................... POCKET GAMER CONNECTS 2017 The Brewery, London Monday, January 16th – Tuesday, January 17th ■ Steel Media’s annual conference is back next January at the Brewery. ■ Indie Survival, Monetisation & User Acquisition, Industry Trends, Global Publishing; Funding & Investment, Local Talent & Success Stories and Practical Development Advice will be amongst the subjects covered during this edition.

December 2nd 2016

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MGF LONDON 2017 QEII Centre, London Tuesday, January 17th – Wednesday, January 18th ■ This 14th edition of MGF London will gather all major players from the mobile games industry, to network and learn more about this booming market. ■ Executives from NetEase, King, Gree, Miniclip, Animoca and Bandai Namco will be among the speakers. ■ In addition to the conferences, there will be an innovation showcase, an expo floor and various networking events..

MARCH 2017 ........................................................................... MCV AWARDS 2017 The Brewery, London Thursday, March 9th ■ The MCV Awards are returning for 2017 to recognise the best and brightest the UK games industry has to offer. ■ The 21 main categories are judged by a panel of members of the games industry while Store Manager, Unsung Hero and Person of the Year are selected by the MCV team. ■ Entries close on Friday, January 6th.

www.mcvuk.com

30/11/2016 17:08


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

HELLO GAMES DELIVERS HUGE UPDATE FOR NO MAN’S SKY

9%

Developer Hello Games has released a massive patch for No Man’s Sky, called the Foundation Update. Players are now able to build bases, farm animals and new Creative and Survival modes were added. This follows players’ disappointment over the release of the original game in August.

Games sales during Black Friday week were up 9 per cent compared to last year

142,000

@bskipper27 Really wanted No Man’s Sky to prove people wrong when it was released. I hope it still can.

@TriggerTreadz There’s no doubting No Man’s Sky was a bit underwhelming, but this HUGE new patch could make everything right!

Ben Skipper, IBTimes UK Monday, November 28th

POKÉMON SUN AND MOON BECOME NINTENDO’S BIGGEST LAUNCH IN THE UK Combined Week One sales for Pokémon Sun and Moon made the titles the biggest ever launch for Nintendo in the UK, outselling 2008’s Wii Fit.

Trigger Treadz Monday, November 28th

Black Friday was the PS4’s most successful week since its release, with reports of Sony’s machine selling more than 142,000 units

2020

Capcom announced it will support Street Fighter V for the next four years, until 2020

LEGO CITY UNDERCOVER GOES MULTIPLATFORM

1m

Wii U exclusive LEGO City Undercover will be landing on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and Steam next year. The exact release date is yet to be confirmed as ‘Spring 2017’ is the only indication we have for now.

@Omac_brother Sony selling as many PS4’s it did at launch in 2013. Pokémon SuMo biggest ever UK debut week for Nintendo. Xbox Ones selling like hot cakes. Sean Davies, Thumb Culture Monday, November 28th

@IBasteEvenly So there I was, eating a bag of cookie dough bites, thinking things couldn’t get sweeter, then I saw Lego City Undercover is coming to PS4.

Steve Bailey, IHS Markit Tuesday, November 22nd

@ODDERZinnit Pokémon SuMo prove beyond a doubt that mobile games really do drive dat synergy.

Farming Simulator 17 has already sold 1m copies since it hit shelves on October 25th, publisher Focus revealed

@Just_Ge0 Lego City Undercover on Xbox One and PS4 is a Lego game I can truly get hype for.

Dave Aubrey, freelance journalist Monday, November 28th

361%

New 3DS XL sales were up 361 per cent in Japan following the launch of Pokémon Sun and Moon on November 18th

George Morgan, Sold Out Tuesday, November 22nd

LVL 5 Afterglow Headset – PDP Design and manufacture the LVL 5 Afterglow Headset for PlayStation 4

europesales@pdp.com

www.pdp.com

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

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

www.mcvuk.com

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MCV, Develop and eSports Pro’s Games Industry Christmas Party is back on December 6th, at the Sway Bar. Tickets have now sold out, with all ticket proceeds going to GamesAid. Thanks for your support and see you there.

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. 05

GAMESAID RAISES £954,000 FOR CHARITY ..................

UK games industry charity GamesAid raised a massive £954,000 in the last year. This was shared between ten different organisations, who each walked away with £95,400. Over nine years, GamesAid has raised £2.7m. December 2nd 2016

30/11/2016 17:08


MARKET MOVES

APPOINTMENTS

Newbay launches eSports Pro site Stubbs leads new pro-gaming brand ● Orry to depart VideoGamer ● Rovio hires senior product manager NEWBAY | MCV has a new sister site following the launch of eSports Pro last week. MIKE STUBBS has been appointed as staff writer, to cover everything there is to know about the growing pro-gaming market. Stubbs previously helmed the eSports Pro section for MCV He commented: “I’m really excited about the new eSports Pro website, providing a dedicated destination for eSports coverage. It will also allow me to put more time into deep investigations and telling the often underreported stories from the eSports world. eSports Pro will be your number one place for all the industry

Orry told MCV: “I co-created VideoGamer (then Pro-G.co.uk) while at university in Brighton. This is now getting on for about a decade and a half ago, which is a very long time to be doing anything. It’s been a wonderful, challenging part of my life, during which I’ve made many friends, seen the site achieve great success, and helped young staff along the path to great careers. “I’ll always love VideoGamer (probably more than anyone should love a bunch of words and pictures on the internet), but now is the time for something new. I don’t know what that something is yet, but I hope to stay in the games industry, perhaps helping shape parts of it in the years to come.”

news. You can reach me on mstubbs@nbmedia.com or on Twitter @MikeStubbsy.” Content director ANDREW WOODEN added: “We’re delighted to have launched eSports Pro, which will provide all the industry news, analysis and interviews to keep the games market, the eSports core, and firms looking to invest and collaborate with them, updated and informed. Please contact myself on awooden@nbmedia. com if you’d like to get in touch.” CANDY BANANA | After 14 years, VideoGamer co-founder and editorial director TOM ORRY is leaving.

ROVIO | Will Luton has joined Rovio Stockholm Studio. Where he will be senior product manager for Angry Birds 2. Luton previously has been product lead at Canadian developer A Thinking Ape for over two years. He started his career at Sega in 2008 and also worked for the likes of Mobile Pie as creative director, TinyCo as senior designer. Luton stated: “It’s a really exciting time to join Rovio as they continue to gain traction with free-to-play products. For me Angry Birds is mobile gaming royalty – you’d be hard pushed to find such recognition and fandom anywhere else.”

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

©2016 Mimoco, Inc. All rights reserved. December 2nd 2016

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30/11/2016 14:27


THE #1 RETRO GAMING LICENSES ON THE PLANET

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30/11/2016 09:48


WEEKLY SALES CHARTS

WEEKLY CHARTS POKÉMON SUN AND MOON technically failed to top the UK weekly charts for their first week. Sun debuted at No.3 and Moon entered the charts at No.4. GfK, however, says that combined sales for Nintendo’s latest titles would give them the top spot - so Pokémon is the biggest selling title this week, catapulted off the back of the incredible success of Pokémon Go. Combining both titles, Sun and Moon are Nintendo’s biggest ever launch in the UK, ahead of 2008’s Wii Fit, selling more on their first day than that title managed to do in two. They have also sold twice that of the previous entries in the franchise, namely 2014’s Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. FIFA 17 has taken the official first place with sales increasing 311 per cent, while Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare has seen a 155 per cent growth in sales and landed at No.2. Both titles were boosted by Black Friday. Meanwhile, Battlefield 1 took No.5, with sales increasing 115 per cent and Watch Dogs 2 (No.6) has seen a five per cent growth in sales for its second week in the charts. That will be welcome news for Ubisoft, after it’s poor

initial showing, although it too saw some significant Black Friday discounts. Nearly every game in the Top 40 saw impressive sales last week, thanks to the bargain weekend event. Uncharted 4, DriveClub and Ratchet & Clank have all re-entered the charts with figures increasing massively. That can be attributed to sales connected to some aggressively-priced PS4 bundles, as last week proved to be the biggest week for PS4 since launch. Meanwhile on Steam, Grand Theft Auto V took the top spot. Once again, Black Friday promotions (which saw the beginning of the plaform’s Autumn Sale) were behind this comeback, as the title was 50 per cent off. Other re-entries in Steam’s Top Ten included The Witcher III’s Game of the Year Edition, Doom and Fallout 4, which were all between 40 per cent and 67 per cent off. Over on mobile, Sega’s new Football Manager Mobile 2017 managed to enter both grossing and paid charts for iPad and iPhone. In the paid charts, the title didn’t succeed in knocking Minecraft: Pocket Edition off No.1 but still debuted at No.3.

TOP 40 UK PHYSICAL RETAIL 02

01

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

03

04

05

Title Format Publisher FIFA 17 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC EA Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare PS4, XO, PC Activision Pokémon Sun 3DS Nintendo Pokémon Moon 3DS Nintendo Battlefield 1 PS4, XO, PC EA Watch Dogs 2 PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft Forza Horizon 3 XO Microsoft Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End PS4 Sony Grand Theft Auto V PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Rockstar Gears of War 4 XO Microsoft Titanfall 2 PS4, XO, PC EA Dishonored 2 PS4, XO, PC Bethesda Minecraft: Xbox Edition XO, 360 Microsoft LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens PS4, XO, PS3, 360, Wii U, 3DS, Vita Warner Bros WWE 2K17 PS4, XO, PS3, 360 2K Games Overwatch PS4, XO, PC Blizzard The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition PS4, XO Bethesda Rise of the Tomb Raider XO, 360 Square Enix Mafia III PS4, XO, PC 2K Games Driveclub PS4 Sony Rocket League PS4, XO 505 Games Fallout 4 PS4, XO, PC Bethesda Skylanders Imaginators PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360 Activision Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration PS4, PC Square Enix Ratchet & Clank PS4 Sony Star Wars Battlefront PS4, XO, PC EA Just Dance 2017 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, Wii U, Wii, PC Ubisoft Tom Clancy’s The Division PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft The Last of Us: Remastered PS4, PS3 Sony Doom PS4, XO, PC Bethesda LEGO Dimensions PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360 Warner Bros Guitar Hero Live PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360 Activision Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection PS4, XO Ubisoft Watch Dogs PS4, Wii U, PS3, 360, PC Ubisoft Destiny: The Collection PS4, XO Activision F1 2016 PS4, XO, PC Codemasters LEGO Marvel’s Avengers PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita Warner Bros Minecraft: PlayStation Edition PS4, PS3, Vita Sony NBA 2K17 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC 2K Games Deus Ex: Mankind Divided PS4, XO, PC Codemasters

Source: UKIE/GfK Entertainment, Period: Week ending November 26th December 2nd 2016

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30/11/2016 14:22


WEEKLY SALES CHARTS GLOBAL STEAM CHARTS (UNITS)

01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09

LW 01 RE RE RE 02 08 04 05

GRAND THEFT AUTO V DEVELOPER: ROCKSTAR NORTH PUBLISHER: ROCKSTAR GAMES

Title Planet Coaster The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Game of the Year Edition Doom Fallout 4 Rise of the Tomb Raider Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Sid Meier’s Civilization VI Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

Publisher Frontier Developments CD Projekt Red Bethesda Bethesda Square Enix Valve 2K Games Ubisoft

Source: Steam, Period: November 21st – November 27th

UK IPAD PAID

01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW 02 NEW 03 NEW NEW 06 05 07 10

UK IPHONE PAID

(UNITS)

01

MINECRAFT: POCKET EDITION DEVELOPER: MOJANG

Title Football Manager Touch 2017 Football Manager Mobile 2017 Rome: Total War The Secret Order: The Buried Kingdom HD Ominous Objects: Trail of Time HD Tipping Point F1 2016 The Chase SteamWorld Heist

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

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

LW 02 NEW 04 03 07 05 06 08 RE

(UNITS)

MINECRAFT: POCKET EDITION DEVELOPER: MOJANG

Title Heads Up! Football Manager Mobile 2017 F1 2016 Monopoly Game Plague Inc. The Chase Tipping Point Bloons TD 5 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

UK IPAD GROSSING (REVENUE)

UK IPHONE GROSSING (REVENUE)

01

01

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW 04 05 02 03 07 08 06 09 NEW

CANDY CRUSH SAGA DEVELOPER: KING

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

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

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

LW 03 04 06 NEW 02 05 07 08 09

POKÉMON GO DEVELOPER: NIANTIC

Title Mobile Strike Candy Crush Saga Game of War - Fire Age Football Manager Mobile 2017 Clash Royale Clash of Clans Episode - Choose Your Story, feat. Mean Girls Candy Crush Soda Saga 8 Ball Pool

UK IPAD FREE (UNITS)

UK IPHONE FREE (UNITS)

01

01

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW 03 08 RE 09 05 RE 10 RE 07

BBC CBEEBIES PLAYTIME ISLAND DEVELOPER: BBC MEDIA APPLICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES

Title Block! Hexa Puzzle Perchang Sea Hero Quest Rolling Sky Pineapple Pen Castle Crush: Epic Strategy Game Roblox Roll the Ball - slide puzzle Juju on the Beat

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer BitMango Perchang Glitchers Cheetah Technology Ketchapp Fun Games for Free Roblox Corporation BitMango Anonymous

LW RE 01 RE RE 02 04 10 RE 05

Developer Warner Bros Sega Codemasters EA Ndemic Creations Barnstorm Games Barnstorm Games Ninja Kiwi Rockstar Games

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

FLIP

DEVELOPER: KETCHAPP

Title New Star Cricket Juju on the Beat Helly Copter Donald’s Empire Fit in the Hole Block! Hexa Puzzle Rolling Sky Candy Party: Coin Carnival Dozer Pineapple Pen

Developer New Star Games Anonymous Playgendary Evobucks Ketchapp BitMango Cheetah Technology Mindstorm Studios Ketchapp

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: November 14th – November 20th www.mcvuk.com

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December 2nd 2016

30/11/2016 14:22


December 2nd 2016

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MERONCOURT

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30/11/2016 17:08


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INTERVIEW ANNE BLONDEL, UBISOFT

Community Service The lifespan of games is increasing, with dedicated online communities playing little else. Seth Barton talks to Ubisoft’s VP of live operations Anne Blondel about how it manages its stable of ‘live’ games

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ames have always been happy to experiment when it comes to revenue streams. They started with pure retail sales, but then DLC came along, subscription models worked for MMOs, episodic content still has its place, while microtransactions are very much in vogue - both on console and mobile titles. The truth is that most publishers are still mixing-and-matching all of the above, often within a single title. Whichever way you go, though, you need to have people playing your game, preferably regularly, preferably with their friends. In short, what almost every game really wants is an engaged group of players. A long-running community who are happy to keep paying to keep the game fresh.

COMMUNING WITH GAMING Modern games are being designed from the ground up to generate just such a community. Such titles are often referred to as ‘games as a service’ or simply ‘live’ games. And live games are becoming increasingly common, across a myriad of genres, such as Ubisoft’s own open-world winter sports title Steep. So just how do you go about making and publishing a game with the best chance of generating such a community? We talked to Anne Blondel, Ubisoft’s VP of live operations, to find out. First off, we asked how she would summarise a ‘game as a service’ or ‘live’ game? “It’s a way for Ubisoft to keep its promise to gamers to have them engaged in the long-term, to provide them long-lasting entertainment on a longer time

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frame than we used to when we were more or less doing more fireand-forget games,” Blondel says. “Live is a section of a game as a service, but the reason I use game as a service is for people internally within Ubisoft to understand that we are super good at doing triple-A games and we need to get super good at doing triple-A services as well. Because if we want to be there for the long-run with gamers, this is what we have to do: provide them with a great game and then content all the way. “When I say content, it’s not about DLC only, it’s about events, it’s about patches, it’s about updates, it’s about fixes... when we say we are here to stay with players, we mean it and we show it that way.”

Live games need content and roadmaps like this one are bound to become more common in future

DLC is the tip of the iceberg and games as a service is much more than DLC. It’s about chosen instruments given to the community so they can make the game even more their game.

TROUBLE IN PARADISE Ubisoft has shown that to be the case. Rainbow Six Siege didn’t fare well commercially on release, but the company has improved the

Anne Blondel, Ubisoft

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title with patches and additional content and now the playbase is now looking highly robust, with the publisher saying it has 10m registered players. Ubisoft has announced a second year of content for that title, but it wouldn’t have simply abandoned the game even if that hadn’t been the case, as asked about the lifespan and what would shut the servers down for good. “So far, it’s very theoretical. Fingers crossed, we haven’t been in that situation with one of our triple-A games,” Blondel says. “We have done free-to-play games and we have had to stop some of them. Actually, we were in soft sunset for some of them and that means that we are there for the gamers, we are still there because we’re obviously not going to switch off and say: ‘Thank you very much for everything, you can go to somewhere else’. No, we have an engagement and a promise to keep with the gamer.” The Division was another title that struggled after launch, mainly to live up to its massive prerelease hype - much like Destiny did. Ubisoft showed impressive resolve and flexibility, putting back DLC content to work on a huge game-balancing update. “We have had a bit of trouble with that,” Blondel admits. “For us, we made a promise when we launched that game that we were there to stay. It was super important for us that we came back with Patch 1.04 because it would be best for gamers. Yes, it means we had to push back DLC releases. People were disappointed but when they

www.mcvuk.com

30/11/2016 16:55


ANNE BLONDEL, UBISOFT INTERVIEW

Ubisoft is continuing to provide regular updates to Rainbow Six Siege, which came out in December 2015

realised it was best for them, they acknowledged it and they loved it. It would have been easy for us to say ‘okay, we have done x many sales, let’s move on’. But no, we made a promise, we wanted to keep that promise. We’re recently released the Survival DLC, so we’ll see. We’re getting back there.” FRANCHISE FATIGUE With such titles designed from the ground up to run and run, the last thing you want is to break up your community. The initial game evolves over years, therefore, without the potential friction points of a new title, does that spell the end for sequels? “So far, there is no plan for that,” Blondel says. “But if we were to look at providing more content, it would be much more like we did with The Crew, it would be extra content linked to the feedback we are getting from the community. It wouldn’t be like: ‘Yeah, let’s do a No.2 because in one year we need to be there with extra content’. “I think when you do a live game, it’s more about being vertical then horizontal. It’s more about pushing the envelope as much as you can of what you have been providing gamers with rather than trying to add extra content which could drastically change the core experience of the game. “I’m not saying that’s not going

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to happen, but for a game like The Crew it would have been a pity to change them. Two years after [launch] people are still craving to have Calling All Units, which launched this week, same for Rainbow Six, we just announced we are going to do a Year Two. With The Division, we are finishing up Year One and people are coming back thanks to patch 1.04.” “It’s a different approach, a different way of consuming games. It really depends on how gamers feel about the relationship they want with the game.” Does that mean that the traditional DLC pack is even showing its age then? Blondel replies: “DLC is the tip of the iceberg and games as a service is much more than DLC. It’s about hot fixes, patches, even services, chosen instruments given away to the community so they can make the game even more their game and stuff like that. DLC is a little part of it. We’re very used to DLC because this is what we used to be doing in the past for fire-andforget games, so it’s part of the process of the live games, but it’s not everything. As I said, it’s the tip of the iceberg.”

It’s a different approach, a different way of consuming games.

Anne Blondel, Ubisoft

COMMANDER DATA When games become services

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you need to get a lot more data from them. That way you can analyse your player base en masse and work out what’s working, and not working, for them. We wondered if Ubisoft’s back end technology was up to the task, if it was providing the teams with the data they needed? “Technology has always been a strength for Ubisoft, not to brag, but that’s something we have shown in all of our different games,” Blondel says. “We have good [data] tracking systems - that’s a way for us to listen differently to gamers’ feedback because obviously when they express themselves on forums, it’s when they are at their most passionate. It’s super important for us to balance by looking at what gamers are really, truly doing. This way we can understand better what they are really looking for. “Data analysts are becoming bigger and bigger within the industry. But it’s more in terms of knowing the gamers better. We have a much closer relationship with gamers now. When you start playing Rainbow Six as a gamer, our development team, our live team knows what you are doing. “It’s not Big Brother, we can see that people love this, maybe they’ll love that – looking at the relationship to see what kind of things we should be providing so the relationship gets even tighter.” Running a live game then is

December 2nd 2016

30/11/2016 16:55


INTERVIEW ANNE BLONDEL, UBISOFT

Ubisoft delayed DLC in order to work on a wide, game-balancing patch for The Division, now it’s adding new game modes

develop it and the core team has to be conception, pre-production, production and post-launch.” Traditionally, senior development and management personnel might be moved off onto the sequel or a new franchise, while others kept the game supplied with DLC and updates. But this now looks to be changing. “Yes, that’s a change for us because we want to make sure that every time we commit to do a Year One, Year Two, Year Three, it’s still in-line with the promise we made to gamers from the box release. It’s only the core team which can guarantee that it’s going to be the same experience all the way.”

becoming a lot more like running a website. Blondel describes the dashboard they have at Ubisoft to see live player numbers: “We actually have a screen with a number of servers – everyone comes over and looks at the number. The best thing is when the dev team is experiencing a closed alpha or beta for a very first time, you can see everyone who is not interested in how the game ‘works’ so to speak asking what they did in terms of servers.” LONG LIFE In terms of staffing, a live game will need a team that can last for years, both keeping to its original design while also innovating with the needs of its players. We wondered how Ubisoft managed this tricky HR balancing act. “For us it’s super important that the core team is the same,” Blondel explains. “It’s part of the creative vision. It starts right from the conception of the game, we decide whether we want to do a fire-and-forget, or do we want to be there for five to ten years. It really changes the way you

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For us it’s super important that the core team is the same. It’s part of the creative vision.

GOING LIVE! Live games are the talk of the town right now, The concept ties into other online services and the success of massive mobile titles, but will all big releases be live games one day? “It really depends on the genre of the game and what they are looking for,” Blondel says. “You can like something that has a beginning and an end, and you have a wrap up to the story and

Anne Blondel, Ubisoft

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you’re fine. And on the side you can have something like Rainbow Six, which is more competitive and you go into it and play and leave it for a while, then you go back and so-on and so-forth.” Is the industry making that difference, between one-shot and live game, clear to consumers? Expectations vary considerably between one game and the other, yet it’s very hard to tell from the box whether it’s a discrete, complete experience, or a longrunning one. “We are getting better at expressing it to gamers,” Blondel says. “And we are getting better at showing it to gamers. Announcing DLC before the game comes out, betas before launch and when we are providing gamers with events, things that are happening just to make the game even more lively, and the same game but different every time they log onto the game are great hints for gamers to understand where we’re going to go,” Blondel says in defence of Ubisoft’s approach. “It’s true, we need to make it super clear whether it’s one shot, or whether it’s a longer shot,

www.mcvuk.com

30/11/2016 16:56


ANNE BLONDEL, UBISOFT INTERVIEW

Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Wildlands will be hitting shelves in March 2017 and will also have its fair share of post-launch content

with gamers.” It’s possible that publishers are now providing too much for gamers to do online. Unleashing many Minecrafts on the gaming public, who will rarely see the need to buy a new title ever again. It’s certainly cause for concern. Some have suggested this is gaming moving to the mobile model, but this feels like a far more generous model to us, not one that requires huge advertising budgets in order to maintain player numbers. It’s more likely that consumers are adjusting to a new gaming landscape and they’ll get used to switching between a handful of live games over the space of a year, rather than gorging themselves upon one title. It’s different from what came before but such online communities are still spending, look at the digital sales data for FIFA and GTA Online, they’re just spending differently. We asked Blondel whether the company had considered repackaging the boxed copy of a game, to make it clear it has an established online community and regular updates, not just an aging and abandoned title.

which is great too. Right now, it doesn’t mean we are making one disappear at the profit of the other one. It’s just that we know that gamers consume their games in different ways and we want to make sure we have different offers for different types of gamers.” TEETHING TROUBLES Given the recent pain of publishers at retail it’s tempting to look at live games as part of the problem. If there are more long-running, highly-engaging titles out there, then what is driving gamers to buy new games. Was this something Ubisoft was concerned about? “We are in a transition now. As far as Ubisoft is concerned, we are targeting more live games to more genres,” Blondel explains. “So yes, if we keep [gamers] entertained on Rainbow Six, it’s not preventing them from going to The Division because they offer something different. The same applies to The Crew, same for Steep. So far, I would say there’s no cannibalisation on our own portfolio, but, yes, that’s a risk if other publishers keep delivering sequels when we are now into a longer time frame relationship

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As far as Ubisoft is concerned, we are targeting more live games to more genres.

Anne Blondel, Ubisoft

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“Retail is still super important for us,” she says. “It’s a matter of providing gamers with what they want, where they want to buy it. Some people are still not comfortable with going digital, so it’s super important we go with retail still. It’s a good idea, and we have to make sure that the packaging is very different. We make sure we have patch notes and state-ofthe-game [announcements] and streaming and such, so people understand that the game is not what it used to be when it first came out. “When you have a live game, word of mouth is super strong as well. it advocates other players.” So hopefully that word of mouth drives retail sales of the game as well as digital spending, it’s certainly worked with GTA V, which still sells strongly, despite originally being a last-gen title, as its community for GTA Online is so strong and vocal. Maybe GTA is the ultimate poster-child for ‘games a service’, a generous package that doesn’t abandon strong retail and Day One sales in pursuit of longevity.

December 2nd 2016

30/11/2016 16:56


RETRO GAMES

A link to the past PQube’s Andy Pearson and Sega’s James Schall discuss retro gaming and tell Marie Dealessandri about the driving forces and challenges behind a trend that appeals to both casual and core gamers

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o say that retro is a growing trend in the games industry would be an understatement. Since the launch of Nintendo’s NES Classic Mini on November 11th particularly, gaming websites have been filled with features about retro gaming, with headlines ranging from where to find a NES Classic Mini – since it’s sold out pretty much everywhere – to how to build your own retro console. What went largely unnoticed, pretty much at the same time, was the launch of a Sega Classic Mega Drive with 80 built-in games, brought by retro gaming specialists PQube in the UK. It’s far from Sega’s first foray into retro gaming though, as the firm launched its Sega Mega Drive Classics Hub on Steam last April and even allowed fans to modify its classics. Sega’s digital distribution director James Schall then told MCV that mods were the perfect way to ‘reenergise’ older titles. “We’re so happy with it, not only have we sold through an amazing number of downloads, but there’s well over 500 user generated mods on the workshop,” he says. But Sega has yet to convince other publishers to add retro content to the hub. “It’s still pootling along,” Schall says. “The trouble is, this is much more of a PR drive for companies rather than a big revenue win, which is why it’s taking a little longer.” The reason why retro gaming doesn’t generate big revenues is that, in order to be successful,

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and this will all come down to the games available.”

retro content has to remain accessible. Contrary to currentgen titles, retro games can’t rely on visual or gameplay innovations to justify their price – the driving force behind retro is an entirely different one. “Nostalgia is a really strong push for people, always has been,” Schall says. “In the 80s it was 50s toys and music, in the 90s the 60s and so on... The 90s seem to have come round now and games have been such a big part of people’s lives that a simple logo or sound can evoke memories that make people smile. We like to see things we loved, that we’ve not seen for a while.” But, contrary to the 90s, when Sega and Nintendo went head-to-head in arguably the first real serious ‘console war’, there’s now enough room for retro content from each party, PQube’s head of marketing – and huge retro gaming enthusiast – Andy Pearson tells MCV. “I think if you look back to the early 90s and the console war, this definitely isn’t a one horse race and there’s plenty of room for all of these new retro consoles – and even more when you consider devices like the ZX Spectrum Vega+ which we just signed and the BlazeTab which we continue to produce.” He continues: “There are factions within the industry itself, with those who are super hardcore and passionate about their favourite brand and others who are happy to switch between brands and play both. It’s the wider audience who will be the deciding factor on these ranges

It’s the sound and look of a game that stirs the passions, just like the recent Mad Max, Star Wars and Jurassic Park films did. James Schall, Sega

Retro players: Sega’s James Schall (top) and PQube’s Andy Pearson (above)

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STIRRING THE PASSIONS One of the reasons behind the growth of retro gaming actually resides in its ability to reach a wider audience, making it appealing to both publishers and retailers, Pearson further says. “I think it’s interesting to see how and where it crosses over into the mainstream – especially if you take our recent announcement for the 25th Anniversary range of Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog as an example. “It was picked up across the internet by the gaming and tech sites you would expect, but ended up being as far reaching as Yahoo’s homepage and then even further afield with The Lad Bible and Playboy. “I think there’s a lot more people who are casual retro gamers and these plug-and-play ranges at competitive price points – especially during gifting season – give those casual gamers that incentive to get back into the games they grew up with.” Schall adds: “It’s the sound and look of a game that stirs the passions, just like the recent Mad Max, Star Wars and Jurassic Park movies pulled on the same emotions.” Not only does retro gaming attract casual gamers and the mainstream, but it also appeals to core gamers, making it the meeting point between the two communities. “I love movies, and I don’t ignore a classic movie because I also like big CGI blockbusters,”

www.mcvuk.com

30/11/2016 16:04


RETRO GAMES

PQube recently launched a plug and play version of Sega’s Mega Drive (right) as well as portable versions of the Master System & Game Gear (below) the Mega Drive (bottom)

Schall continues. “Even if you say you only like hip-hop, I guarantee there’s another style or song you like. People like to compartmentalise themselves but we don’t really live that way. If you like games, you try good games. “Gaming has now evolved beyond the pretty pictures arms race,” Schall believes. “Of course, we get lots of games that look incredible but people also enjoy games with different styles. Gaming is maturing, just like music did. Different styles for different moods.” The fact that older titles focus more on gameplay than design also helps, Pearson adds. “When we are looking at 8-bit and 16-bit era we are talking predominantly 2D graphics. This forced the developers at the time to be very creative with both their characters and gameplay elements that inevitably stood the test of time much better than a graphics-led approach which can become ‘dated’.” GREY AREAS But the retro gaming market doesn’t come without challenges. “In terms of the retail side, there’s a need to plan ahead as there are some pretty significant lead times when dealing with hardware like this,” Pearson explains.

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well as a range of our ‘own brand’ consoles - mainly Android based systems – have what are likely to be some of the most exciting console releases of this Christmas says a lot.” And the trend is not set to end soon, as what we play today will fall into the retro category soon enough: “Fallout 4 and Football Manager 17 will be retro one day,” Schall concludes.

“In terms of the products themselves, the biggest challenges are the games. For those out there focused on ‘original’ cartridges there’s obviously the availability of games and the reliance on sites such as eBay and smaller independent sellers selling used games. From a licensing point of view, there’s a lot of grey areas about who owns what and it makes it difficult to pull together all the products we would ideally like.” But these issues didn’t prevent the market from booming, digital having helped a lot in this evolution, since most of the retro gaming content is now available though platform holders’ digital storefronts or via Steam. “At Sega we’re selling millions of copies of games that were made over ten years ago,” Schall enthuses. “People love good games, what has changed is backwards compatibility and access,” he continued. Peason agrees: “I think the likes of Sega, Nintendo and Atari – as

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December 2nd 2016

30/11/2016 16:04


FUTURE GAMES SUMMIT ROUNDUP

What we learnt from Future Games Summit The inaugural Future Games Summit was held last week at London’s Millennium Mayfair Hotel and looked into the future of the games industry. Here MCV looks back at what we learnt from the conference

HOLOLENS ISN’T FOR GAMERS MICROSOFT’S Roger Walkden kicked of the day, speaking about the company’s HoloLens augmented reality device. Microsoft is positioning HoloLens as a device for enterprise and business. Walkden even said he left the games industry when he moved across to working on HoloLens. But he believes that the games industry offers vital and unique insight into creating 3D experiences for HoloLens. “The parallels between games development and what you need to create inside HoloLens is very similar,” he said. “That is why we are seeing a huge amount of people who are interested in developing inside the commercial space and talking to people who understand what really makes a difference inside a work environment for HoloLens.”

Above, from left to right: Jo Twist, Kim Adcock, Alan Moss and Donal Phillips

BREXIT ISN’T THE END OF THE WORLD

Walkden talked about positioning Microsoft’s HoloLens for business

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THE UK and Ireland voting to leaving the European Union is arguably the defining moment of 2016. But in the face of negative news about its impact, it might not be that bad. Speaking on a panel hosted by Creative England’s Rob Crossley, UKIE CEO Dr Jo Twist OBE said that little had changed for the UK games market since the vote in June. Furthermore, she said that the games industry was well-

equipped to deal with the changes and challenges Brexit poses. “What I think is typical of the games sector and interactive entertainment sector. It’s that we are really used to change. Change is part of our business, whether that be around business models, ecologies, audiences, players, communities – everything changes in the games industry from six months to six months,” Twist said.

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“It requires a certain amount of resilience that games in themselves are very good at teaching you, how to persevere. “We’re an industry of creative problem solvers because we are programmers and creatives and business leaders. That’s the kind of skill-set and thinking that we need to find a way through. We are very good at problem solving,” she concluded.

www.mcvuk.com

30/11/2016 15:31


FUTURE GAMES SUMMIT ROUNDUP

INFLUENCERS HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE IMPORTANT

Above, from left to right: Simon Byron, Sean Fee, Oliver Gediehn and Sam Barkaway

IN our final panel for the day, Curve Digital’s Simon Byron, uChannel Management’s Sam Barkaway, Sean Fee of Player.me and Oliver Gediehn from Adspree gathered to discuss the changing influencer landscape. A lot has changed in the last few years – until recently, many influencers didn’t realise how much they were worth. Now, they definitely do. Curve’s Byron said that making sure a game is streamable is becoming very important, citing the indie publisher’s game Human: Fall Flat which was promoted by streamers. This led to a successful launch as there was already awareness for the product. Byron was keen to point out that not all games are appropriate for streamers – some titles are better given to the traditional games press. Despite being wildly successful, many influencers still have a lot to learn. Sam Barkaway of uChannel Management said that it was having to work hard to educate

WE FOUND OUT FACEBOOK GAME ROOM EXISTED YOU’RE forgiven for having not heard about Facebook Gameroom. The social network quietly launched this platform for Windows at the start of November. At Future Games Summit, Nick Parker of Parker Consulting and freelance journalist Jake Tucker looked at the platform to see whether it’s the Steam competitor that people have touted it as. The short answer: Facebook Gameroom isn’t a competitor to Steam. While the social network boasts a user base 1.8bn people strong, compared with Steam’s 125m-plus base, Facebook’s audience is largely casual and has migrated to mobile gaming. The social network’s audience is also less core, with a higher proportion of women and an overall younger audience.

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Facebook does have higher concurrent users, with a title like Candy Crush drawing in 11m players compared to the 832k simultaneous users DOTA 2 boasts on Steam. Both have VR ties; Oculus with Facebook and HTC Vive with Steam, meaning there are opportunities for both in this new space. While Gameroom is no doubt an effort to bring an audience back to desktop, it is severely limited by a 200MB limit for filesize, though Facebook is considering a 500MB cap. This certainly limits what developers can do, particularly in terms of core games. Thus, it has the potential to be more of a competitor for the Google Play and App Store on mobile. Parker even said that it could be an attempt to try and reverse the migration of users to mobile.

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influencers in how to manage their brand. “At the end of the day, a lot of influencers have the business sense of a child,” he said. “Really, we have to make sure we are educating them and making sure they are on a leash to some degree and not going out and saying completely the wrong things, things that could get them in trouble. We try to make sure they have good business acumen when it comes to that, as well as a good ethical head for making sure their content is clean.” Player.me’s Sean Fee added: “The one thing I have experienced so far is that the naivety amongst the influencers in terms of business is quite apparent. They don’t even know how to price their own stuff, they will rely on management or agencies to help them with that. Even when they are growing and not at that level, they absolutely don’t know how to price what they are doing.”

December 2nd 2016

30/11/2016 15:31


FUTURE GAMES SUMMIT ROUNDUP HOW TO GET INVESTMENT FOR YOUR GAME NICHOLAS LOVELL chaired a panel featuring MMP Tax’s Alexis Marz, Grabr’s Tony Pearce, Tom Leigh from CrowdCube and Kuju Startups Funds’ Travis Winstanley to find out what the latest trends in raising money for games are. Leigh said that though games are a risky investment, people are willing to put money behind projects, and, for new studios, taking on investment partners into their business is a great way

out early in some form to get feedback, either through equity crowdfunding or through Early Access, to make sure that the game has visibility. CrowdCube’s Leigh said that releasing a game and developing a feedback loop is very important for making a game and seeing what people actually want from it. Furthermore, having more than just an idea is essential to securing investment. Grabr’s

to start – especially those with experience in the games sector, which can thus provide advice. This was a point backed up by Marz, who said that it’s important to get people excited about your game, but also to ask for assistance and advice. “People love to help people out – everyone I’ve spoken to has been willing to have a 15 minute phone call,” she said. Winstanley said that it’s important to get the game

Pearce says. Developers need to be able to show ‘at least’ a playable demo of the project to secure serious cash. Showing who is making the game and what experience they have is also vital to obtaining investment, as well as knowing what the size of the title’s addressable market is. Being able to articulate to an investor why your game is valuable is also key, Winstanley said.

Above, from left to right: Tom Leigh, Travis Winstanley, Alexis Marz and Tony Pearce

HOW OTHER INDUSTRIES WANT TO LEARN FROM GAMES THE games industry has a wealth of knowledge that other sectors want to learn from. That’s according to Damian Horner, brand development director of Hachette Book Group, who says that the games industry’s unique approach is something other industries are interested in. “Industries are saying: ‘we need to look at mobile gaming, and look games company and see how they work’,” Horner said. “They aren’t interested in your creativity – though people in games are very creative, creativity is not the driver, that’s not the thing that other industries are interested in. The interesting bit is that the games industry is consumer-first in its approach. You have data and analytics and you look at what people are doing and how they are doing it, when they are doing it and why they are doing it and more importantly, you

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adjust the game or product. You talk about it as a service. “That mindset leap of thinking of this as a service is a really weird thing for other industries to get their head around. If I could launch a book, realise that chapter three is really boring and turns people off, and drop it and re-edit it and bring the book out with a different ending... Imagine how much more effective our product would be. We can’t do that yet. But watching what’s happening in games is making us think we could. What the games industry has said is that a product can change and iterate and people are happy with that. That’s quite a leap if you’re not in the gaming world.” He continued: “Direct relationships are golden. You truly know who your consumers are. You can watch what they are doing and change things as a result of that. Very few industries can do that.”

Hachette’s Damian Horner said the games industry has a lot to teach to other creative sectors

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www.mcvuk.com

30/11/2016 15:31


Featuring: Playmobil, Gibsons, Melissa & Doug, Aurora World, Cheatwell Games, Le Toy Van, Learning Resources, & many more...

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30/11/2016 09:48


THE BIG GAME SNIPER ELITE 4

Rebellion’s bigshot With the largest game and the biggest marketing campaign in the series, Sniper Elite 4 should continue to confound critics. Rebellion’s Robbie Cooke and Paul C. Wright talk to Marie Dealessandri about serving the community and self-publishing the franchise for the first time.

S

niping games are one of those peculiar genres that are almost always praised by their players but mauled by the critics. And the Sniper Elite franchise is no exception to the rule. Critics may not have always backed the series, but it has built a massive community eagerly waiting each new entry in the franchise. “One thing we’ve never struggled with has been great user reviews, particularly on Steam,” Robbie Cooke, marketing and PR manager at developer Rebellion, says. “Steam, Amazon and YouTube in particular have really taught the gaming world that it’s player feedback that’s most important. If your core community and new players alike are enjoying the game, then you have every chance of success.” He continues: “Of course, we want to push ourselves to make

December 2nd 2016

22 23 24 MCV903 Sniper Elite_V5.indd 1

Elite game – so we’re very confident in where Sniper Elite 4 is, and where Rebellion as a studio is going,” Cooke continues.

the best game possible. You only have to be in our studio on launch day and hear the hubbub as reviews come in to know that we care about what our peers think about our games. For the devs, they like to know they did the best work they could, and made an even better game than before. Personally, as a PR person I like to think I’ve given the game every chance to succeed critically, but it’s player feedback that’s most important.” And to make sure new players and fans alike enjoy the upcoming Sniper Elite 4, Rebellion has given the new title the best possible odds. “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

Sniper Elite 4 is a formula that focuses on player-driven choice. Paul C. Wright, Rebellion

22

FORGING AHEAD One of the reasons why Sniper Elite 4 is such a big deal for the Oxford-based developer is that it’s self-publishing the title, having previously partnered with publisher 505 Games for the previous releases in the franchise. “We’ve been forging ahead, working exclusively on our own IP and had great success self-publishing – including Zombie Army Trilogy which was our first self-published console and retail game – so going fully independent on Sniper Elite 4 is the next logical step,” Cooke explains. “There’s no doubt 505 played a big part in making

www.mcvuk.com

30/11/2016 14:04


SNIPER ELITE 4 THE BIG GAME

BREATHING ROOM SNIPER ELITE 4 was due to launch Q4 2016, but Rebellion decided to move the title to February 2017, to avoid it’s own Battlezone. However, it’s now launching on the same day as the muchawaited, For Honor. “It’s funny, we both announced our launch dates within hours of each other,” Robbie Cooke explains. “We’re not overly concerned. It’s very rare to get a slot completely to yourself these days, so you have to mitigate for that in any planning. The games are very different, but that’s not to say someone can’t enjoy both, or play one and pick up the other a little later. We just need to make sure that we give press and influencers the time they need to enjoy the game and create content, knowing they might want to be playing other games too. We’ve been keeping our first, third and retail partners in the loop too whenever we can, and we understand we can’t hog all their attention.”

Sniper Elite V2 and 3 a success, but we’ve invested heavily in our own publishing functions over the last several years. We now have teams responsible for marketing, PR, trailers, advertising art, websites, digital stores, customer service and more. We’ve never been in a better position and there’s no time like the present.” To ensure a smooth launch, Rebellion has partnered with publisher Sold Out to deliver Sniper Elite 4’s boxed version. “When you’re independent it doesn’t make sense to limit who can buy your game, and boxed is still really important to many players, for lots of different reasons. Rebellion’s success has been built on the freedom of digital distribution of course, and we do release digital-only titles when it’s right for the game and

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audience – like Battlezone 98 Redux for example.” For the first time since the franchise debut in 2005, the PC version won’t have a physical release, though. “Right now the boxed PC market has a few challenges and the vast majority of our players buy from Steam or their preferred licensed reseller. The benefits just don’t outweigh the costs for us at the moment,” Cooke says.

One thing we’ve never struggled with has been great user reviews.

WIND OF CHANGE Rebellion’s greater ambitions don’t stop at how the game is sold, though, it was also keen to implement significant changes to Sniper Elite 4’s gameplay. “The most noticeable change is the sheer scale and complexity of the maps,” lead designer Paul C. Wright tells MCV. “Our maps are huge compared to Sniper Elite 3,

Robbie Cooke, Rebellion

23

and that alone has an effect on how we’ve seen players approach and deal with the missions.” The Sniper Elite franchise has been criticised for its AI in the past, so the way it works is also something Rebellion has been keen to change. “The AI system had to complement the much more open environments, so there are big evolutions there too, and a much more emergent form of gameplay in Sniper Elite 4,” Wright adds. “We’ve also opened things up with traversing the environment, allowing players to climb and shimmy across and around structures, accessing parts of buildings that would have previously been off-limits, and using the natural verticality offered by our Italian setting. Then there’s the bevy of other additions, all the new unit

December 2nd 2016

30/11/2016 14:04


THE BIG GAME SNIPER ELITE 4

The Sniper Elite franchise is known for its X-Ray Kill Cam

types, weapons, items, vehicles, and so many other things. What we’ve got in Sniper Elite 4 is a formula that focuses on playerdriven choice. There aren’t design-driven ‘biggest weapon wins’ scenarios or ‘you must use stealth here’ sections. This is a much, much more open game.“ The title is set in wartime Italy around 1943 “with the country mired by fascist rule,” Wright says. A setting that was not chosen at random, he adds. “Our bosses Chris and Jason Kingsley are big World War Two aficionados, and there are more theatres of that conflict they want to explore, even if that means setting them in times and locations that aren’t that well known. “Since Sniper Elite 4 is being developed from the ground up for the latest hardware, we have the ability to create the gigantic levels that the varied Italian setting demanded and that a sniper game deserves. The

December 2nd 2016

22 23 24 MCV903 Sniper Elite_V5.indd 3

Italian campaign is something we wanted to show the world. Not many people are aware of the historical importance of the campaign, and how close it was to not even happening, so to be able to create a game in this setting is a great honour.”

We wouldn’t be making Sniper Elite 4 if we didn’t think it could be the bestselling Sniper Elite game of all time

PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES Between self-publishing, gameplay innovations and a lesser-known setting, there are a lot of unknown factors surrounding Sniper Elite 4’s success. Cooke remains confident but is aware of the challenges facing the title. “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. 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

Robbie Cooke, Rebellion

24

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.” So far, the public’s response has been positive, Rebellion having showcased the title at Insomnia and EGX. “We’ve been out to Gamescom and Paris Games Week too,” Wright says. “We had people queuing for two to three hours to play the game, and with that kind of wait time you are expecting some criticism, but I can’t recall much at all. Most of the people I spoke to loved the game and couldn’t wait for it to come out.” He concludes: “We’re making the kind of games we like to play at Rebellion, and I think our passion is what drives us to keep pushing the boundaries of what we can do.”

www.mcvuk.com

30/11/2016 14:04


OPINION

INSIGHT

Can PlayStation’s VR crack the mass market? GfK director PAUL SIMPSON breaks down the latest data for virtual reality hardware and explains why PSVR has the potential to reach the mainstream market

H

alf of the UK population is interested in owning a VR device. Virtual reality is a wellrecognised term, and it seems the concept is gaining traction with consumers. In our recent survey (October 2016), one in five UK consumers aged 16-plus said they find the concept of VR appealing. Currently, interest is strongest among gamers, more specifically PlayStation gamers. In fact, gaming is by far the main potential use of VR identified by consumers.  VR devices Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, both of which are focused towards gamers, suffer when compared to PlayStation VR. 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 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 (for the week ending Saturday 15th October 2016).      www.mcvuk.com 

25 MCV903 GFK VR Data_V5.indd 1

PSVR benefits from the large installed base of PS4 owners

Initial reactions to PSVR are positive. Excited owners are keen to show off their new purchase. 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.  PlayStation VR gamers are most interested in the games and the experience of playing. This means they tend to ignore the technical specs and a few niggles with set-up. Despite experiencing some unfamiliarity/disorientation, verging on mild nausea, the gamers we spoke to quickly acclimatised to their new reality and continued to play.

With all the buzz and excitement around PlayStation VR, the move towards the mass market is beginning. Paul Simpson, GfK

25

PlayStation VR is starting to bridge the chasm from hard-core gamers into the mass market. What does the future hold? Some early adopters we contacted felt the need for better games, expressing that current titles lack the depth they demand. More triple-A titles are actively sought.  With all the buzz and excitement around PlayStation VR, the move towards the mass market is beginning. We know that consumers struggle to think of other uses for new technologies like VR. It will be up to manufacturers to develop and showcase their benefits that are relevant to non-console gamers.  Sales during the festive season will be key, as will the raft of new products and innovations unveiled at the upcoming CES and MWC. One thing is for sure; Sony is off to a good start. Let’s see how the VR story develops over the coming months with Google Daydream and other products entering the market.

December 2nd 2016

30/11/2016 15:30


MARKETPLACE

SHELF LIFE

Sean Serrol from Games Centre in Clydebank tells MCV about how customers have evolved and how the store’s offering had to evolve accordingly, focusing on tech and trading card games How has business been lately? Pretty good actually, we’re quite pleased. Watch Dogs 2 has done quite well, and the Pokémon games are flying off the shelves. Did you have a lot of pre-orders for Pokémon? Yes, but actually a lot of people have been into the Pokémon Trading Cards as well lately. People are going crazy for the Evolution set. I think Pokémon Go took part in it, but the whole year was Pokémon daft.

PRE-ORDER CHARTS

Are you facing any challenges? Not necessarily. It’s more about the difference in our options and strategies really as software year-on-year has settled and weakened a bit. It’s more of a case of expanding on other aspects of the business and focusing on tech and trading cards a lot more.

cards games like that. We’re going to have trading cards nights, we will teach customers how to play the game, and they can meet people who are also into trading cards games. We also have a pinball machine and arcade machines that have been installed in the store, so now it’s more of a place where gamers can come and hang out.

What’s the plan exactly for that? After Christmas, some of the stores are doing events, preview events and tournaments for Yu-Gi-Oh and

How would you assess 2016? It’s been an interesting year. It’s not a case of the challenges of the

Xbox has stepped up a lot hardware-wise, while in terms of software PlayStation has performed better. Sean Sorrel, Games Centre Clydebank

PRICE CHECK: LICHFIELD

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

2. The Last Guardian - Exclusive Launch Edition Sony.........................................................................PS4 3. Horizon Zero Dawn Sony.........................................................................PS4

EA, PS4

6. Final Fantasy VII Square Enix..........................................................PS4 7. Mass Effect Andromeda EA .............................................................................PS4

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

£49.99

£49.99

£45

£35

£44.99

£45.99

£45.99

£37.99

£44.99

£44.99

£44.99

£34.99

£42.99

N/A

£40

£34.85

N/A

£46.43

£47.77

£41.06

UNCHARTED 4: SURVIVAL

EXILE’S END

ITTLE DEW 2

Uncharted 4’s co-op survival mode is landing on PS4 mid-December

The platformer is out on Wii U following a PS4, Vita and PC launch

This puzzle-adventure has launched for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

OUT: DECEMBER

December 2nd 2016

26 27 MCV903 Retail_V3.indd 1

Bethesda, XO

Bethesda, XO

ONLINE

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

DISHONORED 2

IN STORE

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

The latest digital releases coming to market

Ubisoft, PS4

BATTLEFIELD 1

4. Persona 5: Collectors Deep Silver...........................................................PS4

UPLOADING

SKYRIM SPECIAL EDITION

WATCH DOGS 2

OUT: NOW

26

OUT: NOW

www.mcvuk.com

30/11/2016 17:20


MARKETPLACE

Games Centre Clydebank 57 Sylvania Way Clyde Shopping Centre Clydebank G81 2RR

Phone: 0141 299 8008 Website: www.gamescentre.co.uk Email: orders@gamescentre.co.uk Facebook: /GamesCentreClydebank

games industry; it’s more of a case of strategies and how we evolve. Though software may be down year-on-year, the store is evolving into different aspects and we are bringing in people that wouldn’t normally have shopped in a game store. One of the challenges is really to evolve to meet the consumers, because they change. What platform performed the best this year? Probably trading cards... but in

terms of consoles, I would say, hardware-wise, Xbox has stepped up a lot, and, software-wise, PlayStation has performed better with the PS4. What about the Switch - what are your expectations for Nintendo’s next console? Everybody is really excited for that. Everyone’s Nintendo crazy right now, with Pokémon, so it’s coming at the right time. A lot of people are going to be on-board for the Switch.

INCOMING TITLE

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

There are still some big releases before the year is out, with new IP Steep, the 3DS edition of Mario Maker, Dead Rising 4 and Last Guardian launching FORMAT

GENRE

PUBLISHER

TELEPHONE

DISTRIBUTOR

December 2nd 7th Dragon III

3DS

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01256 385 200

Koch Media

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3DS

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Steep

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Ubisoft

01279 822 822

Exertis

Super Mario Maker

3DS

Family

Nintendo

01753 483700

Open

PC/XO

Survival horror

Microsoft

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PS4

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January 20th

January 24th

www.mcvuk.com

26 27 MCV903 Retail_V3.indd 2

27

December 2nd 2016

30/11/2016 17:20


FINAL FANTASY XV

FINAL FANTASY With Final Fantasy XV just hitting shelves, Marie Dealessandri takes a look at what’s new on the merchandise side for the famous IP

2016 was the year Final Fantasy made its grand return. It began with the Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV event in Los Angeles in April, where publisher Square Enix revealed when the long-awaited RPG would be launching. The firm also unveiled its massive push for title, which included three games, an anime, a movie starring Sean Bean, Lena Headey and Aaron Paul, an Audi car, a song by Florence

Final Fantasy XV is the big one. It has consistently been at the top of mostwanted game charts. Anthony Newall, Square Enix

and the Machine, numerous special editions... But the big deal was, of course, the launch of Final Fantasy XV, which hit shelves three days ago. Talking to MCV, Square Enix’s marketing director Anthony Newall said that the title not only appealled to existing fans “but also to a new generation that have never played Final Fantasy before.” He continued: “Final Fantasy XV is the big one. It has consistently been at the top of the most anticipated

FINAL FANTASY XV ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK LIMITED EDITION (BLU-RAY DISC MUSIC) Final Fantasy is known for its amazing soundtrack. That’s likely why Square decided to release a box set of Final Fantasy XV’s music. It features bonus tracks (including Florence and the Machine’s theme song Stand by Me), behind-the-scenes footage, 250 songs from the whole series, piano versions, a round table with composer Yoko Shimomura and more. SRP: £82.99 Manufacturer: Square Enix Distributor: Square Enix Contact: 020 8636 3000

FINAL FANTASY XV: SILVER PENDANT LUNAFREYA NOX FLEURET

FINAL FANTASY XV - THE COMPLETE OFFICIAL GUIDE

FINAL FANTASY VII MONOPOLY

Here’s the perfect Christmas gift for any hardcore Final Fantasy fans out there.

This 324-page guide covers Final Fantasy XV’s main missions, sidequests and all gamers need to fully complete the game.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy VII’s launch, this Monopoly special edition will release on April 14th 2017.

SRP: £189.99 Manufacturer: Square Enix Distributor: Square Enix Contact: 020 8636 3000

SRP: £14.99 Manufacturer: Piggyback Distributor: Piggyback Contact: 020 7313 9232

SRP: £34.99 Manufacturer: Merchoid Distributor: Merchoid Contact: 0121 350 8346

December 2nd 2016

28 29 MCV903 Margin Maker_V4.indd 1

28

www.mcvuk.com

30/11/2016 17:04


g

FINAL FANTASY XV

Sponsored by

gaming merchandise uk

charts, generated incredible PR across specialist and consumer media and will be remembered for years to come as a landmark title.” Newall continued: “Fresh open-world gameplay, real-time, team-based combat and an awe-inspiring mix of real-life and fantasy setting make Final Fantasy XV truly stand out,” said. “All of this is built on nearly 30 years of RPG excellence in story-telling, character, music and, in particular, cutting-edge new technology.“

Newall added that Square Enix wants to “ensure that Final Fantasy XV is a great stocking filler.” That’s why it has heavily invested in tie-in products, from figures to a limited edition soundtrack. And the story doesn’t end there. Remakes of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy XII are in the pipeline, while World of Final Fantasy also launched in October. Thus, there’s lots loads of opportunities to capitalise on Square Enix’s most popular IP.

FINAL FANTASY XV PLAY ARTS KAI COLLECTION Square Enix’s Play Arts Kai has designed new beautifully detailed action figures to launch alongside Final Fantasy XV. Gladolius, Ignis, Prompto and Noctis are the four characters available. They all stand around 30 cm tall and have their own weapons.

SRP: £82.99 (each) Manufacturer: Play Arts Kai – Square Enix Distributor: Heo UK Contact: info@heo.com

FINAL FANTASY XV WALL SCROLL VOL.2

FINAL FANTASY BOMB KEYCHAIN PLUSH

WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY - STATIC ARTS MINI: CACTUAR CONDUCTOR

Final Fantasy XV’s main characters Noctis, Gladiolus, Ignis and Prompto are displayed on this wall scroll.

Final Fantasy aficionados can now own a Bomb in plush form. It’s also a keychain, so it can follow you everywhere.

The Cactuar Conductor has been featured as a mini-game in PS4 and Vita title World of Final Fantasy.

SRP: £19.99 Manufacturer: Square Enix Distributor: Square Enix Contact: 020 8636 3000

SRP: £12.76 Manufacturer: Square Enix Japan Distributor: Game Legends Contact: info@game-legends.de

SRP: £27.99 Manufacturer: Static Arts Mini – Square Enix Distributor: Abysse Corp Contact: contact@abyssecorp.com

www.mcvuk.com

28 29 MCV903 Margin Maker_V4.indd 2

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December 2nd 2016

30/11/2016 17:04


MARKETING, PR & CREATIVE AGENCIES

LEGAL

AUDIO IN

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

DC GAMES GROUP

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INCOMM

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OK MEDIA LTD

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

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OPM RECRUITMENT

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

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

REMOTE CONTROL PRODUCTS

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

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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

10/05/2016 10:07


THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT AGENCIES AND SERVICE COMPANIES

COMPANY PROFILE /

GOROUH DOOSTAN RAYANEH KEY CONTACTS: Email

Telephone

Bahizad@Doostan-Co.com

+98 – 21 – 44228670

ADDRESS: No 9, Hemmatian St. Takesaten St., Satterkhan St. Tehran, Iran, 1444636445

DC GAMES GROUP is trading name of Gorouh Doostan Rayaneh Narmafzar Company (LTD) which was established in Tehran, Iran in 2008. It is a privately owned company. DC Game Group is seen as a pioneer in the game industry in Iran. Our core strength lies in our experience for more than 15 years in Iran’s market combined with effective sales strategies and strong attention to market’s needs. Our main focus is on Video Game Consoles. We are in contact with large global suppliers. We import from different countries around the world, mainly USA, European countries, UK and specially U.A.E and distribute in Iran. DC Games Group is constantly looking for new international suppliers. We are always interested in developing new business partnerships. DC Games Group is a leading distributor of all kind of Game Consoles, Accessories and Video Games in Iran. We supply to all cities of Iran and we have over 500 customers including wholesalers, street shops and individuals around the country. Some major activities and services of the company can be outlined as follow: ■ Game consoles: Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft XBOX 360/One, PS Vita, Nintendo Wii U/3DS XL. ■ Official accessories by Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo… ■ Official license game accessories e.g. Products by, Mad Catz, 4Gamers,... ■ Selling Digital Game Code and Gift Cards e.g. PSN, iTunes...

INDIE THICK OF IT

THE BUSINESS OF VIDEO GAMES

GAMES THE BUSINESS OF VIDEO ISSUE 859 FRIDAY DECEMBER

4TH 2015

ISSUE 860 FRIDAY DECEMBER 11TH

N SHAHID PLAYSTATION’S DEV CHAMPIO

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

THE A TEAM

DEBBIEP16 BESTWICK TAKES US THROUGH 25 YEARS OF TEAM17 AHMAD ON 10 YEARS AT SONY 2015

P18

UK RETAIL SPEAKS OUT 55%

70%

believe PS4 will rule next year (above top),

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

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

ack are bdig Charts ital time, they’re And this UKIE signs partnerships for by Christopher Dring

19%

ches charts section console data QMCV re-laun mobile and digital demand more titles in 2016

will digital data, these measures able to GfK Chart-Track’s physical bring us closer to being to MCV. our industry, listings will also return judge the successes of and clear MCV dropped its weekly and continue to grow using as part of market.” monthly charts sections information about our games which our Digital Counts initiative, SuperData CEO Joost van y full a “Getting campaigned for more transparenc Dreunen added: are selling includes around how well games picture of the market, that such as MMOs via download platforms categories like free-to-play iOS and be key to Steam, Xbox Live, PSN, and digital console, will and Google Play. the UK industry’s domestic highest it’s “Access to data is of the ternational success. Certainly,

MCV Directory 2016 DPS.indd 2 industry AT last! The UK games charts. has some digital download UKIE has signed agreements of mobile with leading providers and MCV will and digital sales data, be printing the results. will offer ection Refl rm fi Analytics which will UK mobile sales charts, ngside

41%

picked Uncharted 4 as their most anticipated game of 2016

Teaming digital gamers in the UK. to extend up with UKIE allows us and fulfil the depth of our coverage a clear the ambition of providing market.” picture of the digital games sector, mobile the of On the state Leksell said: Reflection boss Gustav in a “The market is quite immature type of data way. The fact that this attests to is not readily available back to goes only sector This that. it mature, 2007, but we are seeing p is developers

60%

hail Fallout 4 as 2015’s Game of the Year

10/05/2016 10:07


DIRECTORY

WHO?

INSIDER’S GUIDE BESPOKE ARCADES

Specialism: Arcade machines Location: Page Global Ltd 71-75 Shelton Street Covent Garden London WC2H 9JQ

Contact: W: www.bespoke-arcades.co.uk P: 0207 935 9005 E: info@bespoke-arcades.co.uk

Co-founder and managing director Ben Georget talks about Bespoke Arcades’ recent launches Tell us about your company. Bespoke Arcades has proudly been making hand-crafted, fullycustom arcade machines for the last 11 years. We’re considered world leaders in what we do and ship our arcades all over the world. We also run a subsidiary business called A-Game which works with publishers and retailers to create custom displays and gaming pods for marketing, press or display purposes. We sell our machines to royalty, and sport, music and film stars, but mostly to real honest gamers who value quality and the

proving incredibly popular with our customers and we’re working hard to keep up with demand to fulfill all orders before Christmas.

thrill that only a real arcade can give you. What successes have you seen? We’re enjoying our busiest and most successful year ever. We’re fresh off a busy autumn exhibiting at Legends of Gaming Live and EGX where gamers have been more receptive than ever to our arcade machines. We’ve also just held a press launch for the King-Pin, our brand new virtual pinball machine which offers a unique, modern twist on classic pinball gaming. King-Pin is already

What are you working on? We’re sponsoring the Trusted Reviews annual awards, which is looking like a blast. We’re creating an entire arcade for the awards with no less than 11 of our machines available for the guests to play on all night. We also have the small matter of dozens of machines to build in which is obviously our busiest period of the year.

DISC REPAIR

TOTAL DISC REPAIR

Tel: +44 (0) 1202 489500

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Web: www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk

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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

www.sonydadc.com

Tel: +302 1090 11900

Web: www.enarxis.eu

Tel: +44 (0) 207 462 6200

Web: www.sonydadc.com

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DIRECTORY

L3I

GAMING ACCESSORIES

Tel: 01923 881000

Web: www.logic3.com

LIME DISTRIBUTION

GAMING ACCESSORIES

Tel: 01622 845 161

Web: www.limedistribution.co.uk

ADVERTISE WITH US

WANT TO ADVERTISE IN OUR DIRECTORY?

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

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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

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

WWW.MCVPACIFIC.COM

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

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

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS Sponsored by

INTERNATIONAL NEWS GameStop sales down year-on-year as games category ‘underperforms’ The US retailer has seen success in the digital, collectibles and tech brands categories though UK games retailers have not been the only ones struggling lately, as GameStop has also reported a 2.8 dip in global sales year-on-year. The US-based retail giant, which has 6,900 shops across Europe, Australia and North America, has just released its financial report for Q3, which ended October 29th. It showed that sales have reached $1,959m (£1,575m), compared to $2,016 (£1,621m) for the same period last year. The report also stated that new hardware sales have decreased 20.6 per cent year-on-year, while new software experienced an 8.6 per cent dip in sales. “The video game category was impacted by weaker than expected demand during the last few weeks of October,” the report

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line with the revised guidance we issued on November 2nd. While the video game business has underperformed recently, we are focused on maintaining our leading market position, especially during the holiday season, as well as driving diversification through the growth of technology brands, digital and collectibles. “In aggregate, despite the softness in video games, I’m proud that our team was able to increase total operating Paul Raines, GameStop earnings by nine per cent yearover-year. As we look forward, we believe that we are well positioned to continue to drive strong free cash flow and return value to shareholders through a combination of share repurchases and dividends.”

said. “Pre-owned sales slightly outperformed the new side of the video game business, declining 6.4 per cent compared to the third quarter of 2015.” Digital sales have increased 11.8 per cent though, with DLC, console digital currency and mobile being driving forces. Another category which has seen growth at GameStop was collectibles, where sales rose 37.3 per cent to $109.4m, “driven by sales of various Pokémon and Five Nights at Freddy’s products as well as exclusive New York Comic Con pop vinyl products,” the report read. The report concluded saying that GameStop was expecting a seven to 12 per cent decrease for Q4, and a 6.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent decline for the full year. CEO Paul Raines commented: “Our third quarter results were in

We are focused on ... driving diversification through the growth of technology brands, digital and collectibles.

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Red Faction no longer considered ‘damaging to young people’ in Germany PUBLISHER THQ Nordic has announced the launch of Red Faction in Germany, 13 years after the game was banned in the country. Germany is known for its strict approach to the depiction of violence in video games – and media in general. As a consequence, Red Faction was added in 2003 to the country’s ‘ index’ - a “list of media harmful to young persons,” THQ Nordic explained. Red Faction was considered to be too graphic when it launched in Germany. A new, less gloomy version was then submitted but that was not enough to get out of the index and the game has remained absent from German shelves for the last decade.

Nintendo latest releases go big in Japan NEW 3DS titles Pokémon Sun and Moon and Nintendo’s NES Classic Mini are off to a good start in Japan. Launched under its Japanese design and name, the Famicom Mini, the new console has sold 262,961 units during its first four days on shelves, according to data provided by Famitsu. The data was collected for the sales period between November 7th and November 13th while the Famicom Mini launched on November 10th. As a comparison, the bestselling console for that same period was the PS4, which shifted 65,194 units, and the No.1 game was new title Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star, which sold 156,211 copies on both Vita and PS4. Meanwhile, Nintendo’s latest big games, Pokémon

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Sun and Moon, have sold 1.905m units during their f irst three days on shelves, Famitsu reported. The titles launched on November 18th in Japan and the data was collected for the week ending November 20th. They didn’t manage to beat Pokémon X and Y’s sales though, which reached 2.096m for the same period. It should be noted that none of these figures include digital sales, which are likely to be more important for Sun and Moon than they were for X and Y due to the increasing importance of digital sales. Lastly, sales for Nintendo’s New 3DS LL rose 361 per cent week-on-week in Japan following the launch of Pokémon Sun and Moon.

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In a statement, THQ Nordic stated that “numerous discussions, tact and some skillful powers of persuasion were required to achieve this result.” Jans Binsmaier, publishing director, added: “At THQ Nordic we were aware of the implications of this momentous decision, and needed to adopt a bold approach. “We will of course still be nurturing our extensive games portfolio that now comprises over 350 titles, and will do our utmost to ensure that gamers can play our games in the future.” Red Faction was released on PlayStation 4 in the US, as part of the PS2 Classics line, earlier this year. The title launched on PS4 in Europe this week.

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OFF THE RECORD

OFF THE RECORD This week, Ubisoft hires Eddie The Eagle and a wind tunnel to promote Steep, and UKIE unveils its eSports whitepaper in style

EAGLE FLIGHT IN an effort to promote its new extreme sports IP Steep, Ubisoft has turned to... Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards... and the French publisher got him to play the brand new title in... a wind tunnel. Yes, the 1988 UK Olympic ski jumper was tasked with taking part in a wingsuit race in the extreme sports title, while being buffetted and lifted aloft by wind speeds of up to 90mph. For his efforts – and obvious mad skills – Edwards won a world record for this. It rounds off a big year for Eddie after his biopic launched back in March.

ESPORTS CRAZY SO you hear about the launch of a new whitepaper. What do you think? Probably at a government building. Lots of men in suits talking policy. But not when that whitepaper concerns eSports and is written by UKIE. The trade body unveiled Growing the UK as an eSports hub at Gfinity’s Arena at Fulham Broadway which, as you can see from the pictures, is a somewhat flashy affair. Plus I defy you to name another policy recommendation that also featured Rocket League. Rocket League! Car football five a side!

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OFF THE RECORD

Green Man Gaming Asks...

As online censorship is ramping up in the UK, do you think this will have a knock on effect to the UK games industry at some point? #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!

Depends how it’s implemented. It could see healthy venting turned into a thought crime/offence.

The ‘unusual’ porn ban proposed by the Tory government is very far away from anything video games has dealt with.

@EikeSky

@iDragonarion

It’ll be a sad day if we are not allowed to play a game coz old wealthy men in suits say its bad for people to see that stuff.

For a while yes but freedom will always win out.

@PonchoGeezer

@OfficialCalnus

With the Digital Economy Bill, possibly for streaming services, I mean things like Twitch may have to implement age checks.

If it does you’ll see me with my pitchfork outside Parliament.

@KittenofTerror

@riggedforepic

CONTACTS Seth Barton

Stuart Moody

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Editor sbarton@nbmedia.com

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Account Manager sgoldhawk@nbmedia.com

Please address all enquiries to: Newbay Media, MCV, Emerson Studios 4th Floor, 4-8 Emerson Street, London SE1 9DU. Printed By: Pensord, Tram Road, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood, NP12 2YA

Alex Calvin

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Deputy Editor acalvin@nbmedia.com

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Staff Writer mdealessandri@nbmedia.com

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Production Executive jmarinos@nbmedia.com

Senior Account Manager lmcDiarmid@nbmedia.com

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© Newbay 2016 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without the express prior written consent of the publisher. The contents of MCV are subject to reproduction in information storage and retrieval systems.

MCV is a member of the Periodical Publishers Association. For the 12 months ending December 2009, MCV had an average weekly net circulation of 8,045. MCV’s circulation is 100 per cent named and zero per cent duplicated.

Newbay specialises in tradededicated print and digital publishing for entertainment and leisure markets. As well as MCV, Newbay publishes Develop, PCR, ToyNews, Music Week, MI Pro, Audio Pro International and BikeBiz. It also has two onlineonly brands: Mobile Entertainment, dedicated to the growing mass market smartphone sector, and Licensing.biz, for everyone in the global licensing industry. It also runs a number of events including the MCV Industry Excellence Awards, the London Games Conference and the Games Media Awards.

ISSN: 1469-4832 Copyright 2016

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THE TOURNAMENTS, THE PEOPLE, THE GAMES AND THE BUSINESS. GET INFORMED AND GET CONNECTED TO THE WORLD OF ESPORTS.

WWW.ESPORTS-PRO.COM

WHAT DO WE COVER? Tournaments All the vital news from the biggest tournaments on the planet – who won what, what the leagues are doing and what it means for everyone else.

People The players, the bosses, the celebs and the rising stars – all you need to know about the movers and shakers across the globe.

Games Updates, gameplay changes, new releases and previews. Everything you need to know about the key titles at the heart of the eSports scene.

Business Who’s sponsoring who, who’s making partnerships and what are the investment opportunities? Here we’ll cover off the commercial forces behind the action.

@eSports_Pro

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