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MICROSOFT CANCELS PLATINUMGAMES’ SCALEBOUND JAPANESE action RPG Scalebound was cancelled on Monday by Microsoft, over 10 years after its initial inception. The PlatinumGames title has had something of an on-off history. Originally conceived back in 2006, the game was put on the backburner twice, first to make Bayonetta and then for The Wonderful 101. Development officially started in 2013 and it impressed with a cinematic trailer at E3 in 2014 and gameplay at Gamescom in 2015. However, a boss fight sequence from E3 2016 failed to thrill and now it’s been grounded for good.




KOTAKU reported that work on the game had been in “development hell for a long time” and that work on the title had stopped at the end of 2016. Eurogamer described the cancellation of the “highlypromoted triple-A game” after four years as an “unprecedented move.” It went on to report that Microsoft had deleted videos and even tweets from official channels. That either looks like an uncharacteristic fit of pique, or possibly a rights-related issue, as noted by IGN. As pointed out, it left Platinum a bit adrift, “a veteran medium-sized studio bobbing along in a market dominated by triple-A companies and plucky indies.”

MICROSOFT’S official statement said: “After careful deliberation, Microsoft Studios has come to the decision to end production for Scalebound. We’re working hard to deliver an amazing line-up of games to our fans this year, including Halo Wars 2, Crackdown 3, State of Decay 2, Sea of Thieves and other great experiences.” Phil Spencer tweeted: “Difficult decision, we believe result is better for Xbox gamers, still disappointing. I’m confident in 17 line-up that’s our focus.” Director Hideki Kamiya thanked fans for their support and said: “All I can do for you is to promise to keep delivering fun games.”

XBOX ONE’S 2017 exclusive line-up was based on strength in depth rather than any single big title, but the loss of Scalebound still isn’t great news for it. Arguably, the new franchise wasn’t ever going to set tills on fire in the UK. Platinum’s top titles have a dedicated following but even those haven’t sold brilliantly in the UK. It’s not clear who now owns the rights. IGN asked Microsoft but it responded that it wouldn’t “comment on business agreements with partners.” Scalebound just might fly again, then, as Platinum has a history of switching publishers, with Sega’s Bayonetta 2 moving to Nintendo. In the meantime it has Nier: Automata coming out March 10th on the PlayStation 4.

PlayStation Europe reshuffles senior management By Katharine Byrne

Rutter said: “2016 was a momentous year. Launching three new hardware devices (the slimmer and lighter PlayStation 4, PS4 Pro, and PlayStation VR) was a huge challenge for the entire operation and one which we accomplished with great success. I’m delighted to be taking on this new role within the business and look forward to the year ahead.” Meanwhile, Tim Stokes (bottom left) will oversee sales, commercial and operations. President of global sales and marketing for SIE and president of SIEE Jim Ryan commented: “I am excited by the opportunity that this new management structure brings to drive further efficiencies and growth within SIEE. The talents of both Simon and Tim will help future proof us as we move into the next stage of PlayStation and SIE’s evolution.”

SONY INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT EUROPE has promoted Simon Rutter to chief operating officer and Tim Stokes to senior vice president of sales, commercial and operations. Rutter (top right) has been part of the SIEE team since 1997, holding a number of positions in marketing and sales. Most recently, he was executive vice president of SIEE. In his new role as COO, he will oversee SIEE’s third-party relations and content function as well as the division’s marketing, finance, IT, legal and HR. This will likely prove key for third-party partners, as it should help streamline the company and improve its overall efficiency, both locally and worldwide.

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This new management structure will drive further growth. Jim Ryan, SIEE

11/01/2017 17:52


GEFORCE NOW COULD GET ONE BILLION PC OWNERS GAMING NVIDIA used its CES 2017 Keynote to announce that highspecification PC gaming will be available to anyone with a Mac or PC laptop from March 2017. That effectively removes any significant hardware requirements for the end-user, letting anyone with a laptop and an internet connection play almost any PC game. The good news for publishers (and players) is that games will be purchased from the usual online outlets with Ubisoft’s UPlay, EA’s Origin, GoG and Steam all signed up. Free-to-play titles such as League of Legends and World of Tanks could be installed, too. Games will be installed on the Nvidia’s virtual PCs in the cloud, which is running either a GTX 1060 or GTX 1080 graphics card. Prices will start from around £20 for 20 hours play.




FORBES wondered whether the need to buy titles would dissuade the most casual gamers, compared to say a Netflix-style offering. On the plus side it mused that gamers away from home will happily pay £1 an hour to play Overwatch on their laptop. ArsTechnica noted that the service worked like a virtual desktop, with users seeing a full Windows install when logging in. They noted that thanks to cloud saves, gamers could easily switch from home gaming to gaming from the cloud. Trusted Reviews said that 100 games would be available at launch, concentrating on triple-A titles. The target is a fast 30ms ping for low input lag but the site wasn’t overly impressed with a showfloor demo.

MCV asked games publishers for comment on GeForce Now but no one was keen to speak on how the service worked from their end or what titles would be available. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang summed it up as “basically a GeForce gaming PC on demand,” and said that it was designed for people who didn’t have access to a gaming PC, didn’t have the inclination to build one, or for those who game infrequently. Nvidia claimed there are 1bn PC owners who aren’t currently able to play top PC titles.

GEFORCE NOW won’t be launching until March but potential users can already sign up for early access, with eight free hours of streaming on offer. However, the service is currently US-only.

THE EDITOR HAPPY NEW YEAR, HAPPY NEW MCV AS I hope you’ve noticed by now, we’ve redesigned MCV over the Christmas break. While magazines need a facelift on a regular basis as fashions change - and MCV was well overdue one to make it cleaner and simpler - this isn’t just a mere visual upgrade. MCV isn’t simply a magazine. At the most basic level, it’s also a website, an email newsletter, social channels, a number of annual events, plus a team of people. All of which work together to comment on and support the UK’s games industry. A weekly magazine is still an incredibly powerful way to distribute information throughout the industry. Not everyone has time in their working day to read as much

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gaming-related news as we do in the office. In that respect, we’ve reorganised MCV into three core sections, creating a more streamlined and logical layout. News is still at the front of the magazine as you’d expect, but as well as breaking our own stories and key commentary from around the industry, we’ll also be summarising the talking points of the last week in our Big Story items. The games section is up next. Here you’ll find up-to-date information on the biggest releases of the week, along with sales data, accompanied by more space for graphs, charts and analysis. Magazines excel at feature content. No website, and certainly no modern mobile-friendly,

A redesigned daily email and a brandnew website will follow along shortly.


responsive site, can layout words and images as compellingly as you can on the printed page. We’ll be concentrating more on this section, both in terms of content and graphic design. Some of the regular sections have also been removed to allow a more flexible layout so we can report the best stories each week, not just those that fit the magazine’s template. But worry not, we’ll still be championing all aspects of the UK games industry across the new sections. This is just a first step. Print journalism isn’t cheap but one plus point is that redesigns like this can be done by the team here. We’ll have a redesigned daily email and a brand-new website following along shortly.

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Q1 2017 release slate is the ‘strongest in years’ Stores call for publishers to have a more consistent release slate throughout the year

By Alex Calvin The line-up of games launching in the first three months of 2017 is one of the healthiest in years. That’s according to retailers who, speaking to MCV, say that this time of year is historically a ‘very challenging’ period due to a weak slate of releases. In the first three months of this year, big hitters like Horizon Zero Dawn, Mass Effect Andromeda, Resident Evil VII, and For Honor are all hitting shelves. This period will also see the release of Nintendo’s new Switch console. “This Q1 is so much better than the same periods during the last few years,” Simply Games director Neil Muspratt told MCV. “For the last three years or so, Q1 has been a very challenging time of year. So it’s great to start a year with lots of new product and a decent pre-sale message.” He continued: “Q1 2017 is shaping up really well. PostChristmas sales are really buoyant, so I would say that it’s a very positive start to the year.” Games Centre MD Robert Lindsay added: “Q1 has the strongest line up I’ve seen in a while. Resident Evil VII is preordering well and has become the first post-launch must-have title for PSVR. Huge hype around Mass Effect and South Park could outperform expectations.” Alison Fraser, head of commerical at ShopTo

Mass Eff ect Andromeda is just one of the big new releases launching in the first three months of 2017 (Top to bottom): Simply Games’ Muspratt, ShopTo’s Fraser and Games Centre’s Lindsay

commented: “Resident Evil VII is the first highpoint of Q1 with customers eager for a new game to immerse themselves in. The hype for Mass Effect and Horizon is building so they should result in some healthy Q1 sales. The date slipping on South Park disappointed many so it should sell very well, especially being so different from other releases.” Retailers once again say that publishers should release big titles throughout the year. This comes after a brutal Q4 that saw a high number of critically acclaimed titles fail to sell as well as their predecessors. “Releasing good quality titles outside Q4 gives us the opportunity to give them the focus they merit, and new titles are still


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

January 13th 2017

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Future Publishing’s Golden Joysticks ceremony, which took place on November 18th, raised £1,965 for GamesAid by hosting a GamesAid Tenner collection during the night.

Releasing good quality titles outside Q4 gives us the opportunity to give them the focus they merit. Robert Linsday, Games Centre

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.


in high demand from consumers who may have recently purchased new consoles,” Lindsay said. Muspratt added: “2017 is an example of how it should be every year. With hundreds of thousands of new consoles out there January is an absolutely ideal time to bring new software to market.” One anonymous source from a national retailer said it was too early to say how Q1 2017 sales will compare to 2016’s, but that Nintendo’s Switch is the most interesting aspect. “There were very few new releases last Easter so sales were soft,” they said. “Switch will be interesting - the key bits will be third-party support, its launch price and first-party exclusives, not just remix games.”

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.

11/01/2017 18:28


Gaming Merchandise UK calls on industry to tackle fake merchandise By Marie Dealessandri Distributor and tie-in products specialist Gaming Merchandise UK has expressed concerns over the increasing amount of counterfeit merchandise on the market. Talking to MCV, GM UK founder and director Luiz Ferreira said it’s a growing problem that weakens licensed sellers, which could cast a shadow on the whole market. “It’s an issue that needs addressing. The proliferation of counterfeit merch benefits no-one except those selling it,” Ferreira said. “IP holders’ brands are damaged, they lose royalties, and

legitimate traders are in a position where they can’t compete, particularly at the lower end of the market. There has even been a recent case where someone had their eyesight damaged by a faulty piece of counterfeit merch.” Ferreira is referring to an incident just before Christmas, as reported by the Daily Mail – a British 13-year-old boy suffered a serious eye injury after a plastic blade from a fake Assassin’s Creed toy shot out. The GM UK founder added that more needs to be done to address the issue. “We do lots of work at

A counterfeit version of this hidden blade replica from Assassin’s Creed injured a British schoolboy in December

consumer events and we have opened constructive dialogues with organisers,” Ferreira said. “However, a significant proportion of the goods sold at these events are clearly unlicensed and are of markedly poor quality. It is also a huge

Sold Out eyes publisher Top Ten by the end of first quarter By Alex Calvin BOXED specialist Sold Out says that it will be in the publisher Top Ten rankings by the end of Q1. The company says that it predicts strong sales of the physical release of Sniper Elite 4 (February 14th) - developed by Oxford-based Rebellion – as well as the boxed version of Kickstarter darling Yooka-Laylee (April 11th). The current Sold Out began life in February 2014, and generated £4m in turnover in its first year. It is targeting £18m-to-£20m for its third year in business. “In the last three years we have come from a small operation to something that I think will be a Top Ten publisher for this first quarter,” MD Garry Williams said. “Nobody else has a line-up like it that I’m aware of. Sniper Elite 4, then Yooka-Laylee boxed release will propel Sold Out into the ‘triple-A’

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stratosphere of worldwide publishing. Demonstrating that with controlled overheads and enough passion together we can still compete with the biggest publishing names. “The fact that the lion’s share of the revenue is going to the developer, there’s no loss of IP for the developer, no claim on digital rights whilst utilising an open and transparent business model is of the greatest pleasure to Sold Out.” He added: “Sold Out thank all those who have chosen to work with us over the early years, co-incidentally the revenues generated have been reinvested to ensure that in 20172018 we once again double our growth. We do the ‘heavy lifting in operating a boxed publishing model’ and would love more developers to contact us.”

Playtonic Games’ upcoming 3D platformadventure game YookaLaylee is receiving a boxed release courtesy of Sold Out

problem online on marketplaces which are notoriously difficult to police. More needs to be done, and it’s going to need a proactive, concerted effort from all stakeholders to stand any chance of addressing the issue in any meaningful way.”



Newzoo reports that Super Mario Run has been downloaded 90m times


Final Fantasy XV has shipped through 6m units worldwide, including digital sales


PlayStation has revealed that Uncharted 4 has sold 8.7m units since its release last year


Lara Croft Go, Hitman Go and Deus Ex Go are now free on the Amazon Underground store


Capcom’s interactive Resident Evil VII: The Experience event opens to the London public

LVL 5 Afterglow Headset – PDP Design and manufacture the LVL 5 Afterglow Headset for PlayStation 4 07

January 13th 2017

11/01/2017 18:28


Japanese physical games revenue shrunk seven per cent in 2016 Japan’s boxed games market experienced one of the weakest years on record in 2016

THE Japanese boxed games market continues to fall in value, with revenue generated from boxed sales dipping seven per cent year-on-year. According to sales data provided by Famitsu, hardware and software revenue dropped to ¥299.48bn in 2016, down from 2015’s ¥320.97bn. This is one of the lowest years for the Japanese games market on record, based on figures available. 1987 saw ¥299bn generated by games and console sales, meaning that this is potentially the lowest point in 29 years for Japan’s boxed market. Hardware revenue fell ten per cent to ¥117.05bn, while software sales declined four per cent to bring in ¥182.43bn. Pokémon Sun and Moon were the best-selling games of the year, shifting 3.2m units between them. The duo charted way ahead of rival 3DS monster games, Yo-Kai Watch 3: Sushi and Tempura, which sold 1.4m units combined. Final Fantasy XV sold 860,127 copies, charting in third

place, ahead of the 3DS SKU of Super Mario Maker, which sold 742,388 units. All of this is physical sales information, and so doesn’t take into consideration Japan’s digital market. Though games retail in Japan is primarily physical, the region has a booming mobile market that is not represented in this data. Over in the hardware charts, Nintendo’s 3DS – including all of its various form factors – was the best-selling console in Japan for 2016. The machine shifted 1.9m units, a 14.4 per cent dip on 2015’s 2.2m units. Meanwhile, Sony’s PS4 and PS4 Pro sold 1.8m combined, an increase of 49 per cent yearover-year. The Vita came in third place, with sales dipping ten per cent. Nintendo’s Wii U sold 336,151 copies, with sales falling 59 per cent. Microsoft’s Xbox One came in fifth place, with 8,897 units sold. That’s a decline of 50 per cent.

Pokémon Sun and Moon were the best-selling games of the year in Japan


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POCKET MONSTER SUN/MOON (POKÉMON) 3DS 3,246,222 UNITS SOLD Title Yo-Kai Watch 3: Sushi/Tempura (Level 5) 3DS Final Fantasy XV (Square Enix) PS4 Super Mario Maker (Nintendo) 3DS Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 (Square Enix) 3DS Yo-Kai Sangokushi (Level 5) 3DS Yo-Kai Watch 3: Sukiyaki (Level 5) 3DS Kirby: Planet Robobot (Nintendo) 3DS Splatoon (Nintendo) Wii U Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (Sony) Vita

Units Sold 1,397,436 860,127 743,388 623,083 563,395 509,667 479,698 398,251 397,607

Rime to get boxed release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One SPANISH developer Tequila Works has confirmed that its much-anticipated adventure title Rime is back on track and will be getting a physical PS4 and Xbox One release later this year. After a long silence, Rime was ‘re-revealed’ last week via an IGN First trailer, which confirmed the game will now launch on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC this May. A spokesperson for Tequila Works told MCV a retail release for

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the Nintendo Switch is also being considered, but it wasn’t ready to make an official announcement. The game was initially revealed during Gamescom 2013 as part of Sony’s indie game line-up. It then went into hibernation, with little being seen or heard of the title until March 2016 when Tequila Works announced it had re-acquired the IP and publishing rights. Publishing duties have now fallen to Grey Box and Six Foot. “It is true that bringing Rime


to other platforms has meant additional workload, but being able to share our vision with a wider audience makes that extra effort worth it,” Tequila Works CEO and creative director Raúl Rubio told MCV. “The team at Tequila Works is grateful to the belief Grey Box and Six Foot has shown in both Rime and the studio which has meant the game will now come to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC in May.”

11/01/2017 17:54


Green Man Gaming appoints new board advisor Reitman joins from CI&T ■ CCP Games hires Target’sDouglas ■ Dovetail bolsters management team GREEN MAN GAMING | DAVID REITMAN has been appointed as board advisor at Green Man Gaming. He’s currently vice president of digital solutions and global strategic alliances for tech consulting firm CI&T, but was previously involved in building EA’s Origin platform, and was VP of business development at streaming firm, Gaikai. “I’m excited to be joining the team as they roll out new products and features on the website and expand their portfolio through increased partnerships globally and a stronger community offering,” Reitman said. Founder and CEO of Green Man Gaming Paul Sulyok

likes of NCSoft, Bethesda and Square Enix. Douglas stated: “I’m extremely pleased to join such a vibrant company, being surrounded by so many energized and creative people is thrilling. I’m looking forward to helping grow CCP’s portfolio of games and being on the ground floor of the next wave of expansion.”

added: “David is a perfect fit for Green Man Gaming’s board. His advice and contribution will be invaluable to the company as we continue to innovate the business and introduce new features to the site to accelerate our growth.”

CCP GAMES | TREY DOUGLAS has joined CCP Games as senior acquisition manager. Based in the firm’s new London office, Trey will head up new user acquisition efforts and be a core part of reshaping CCP’s existing marketing team. He previously worked at Target Media UK, and has run performance campaigns for the

DOVETAIL GAMES | Dovetail has added two new members to its management team. LIZZIE WILDING (pictured, above) joins as vice president of publishing, while SIMON BULL (pictured, top right) has been appointed

as Dovetail’s flight business director. Wilding has previously worked for EA, NaturalMotion and Jagex. She said: “There is such strong investment in the excellent products Dovetail already offers and I’m really looking forward to spearheading the development of Dovetail Live with its exciting content technology.” Meanwhile, Bull will oversee publishing activity on all the company’s flight franchises, stating: “We want flight sim enthusiasts to consider Dovetail Games’ flight products as the number one destination when it comes to investing in and enjoying their hobby.”

Distributed by IT World Services TEL: +44 (0)17538 21122 EMAIL:

©2016 Mimoco, Inc. All rights reserved.

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DEVELOPER Capcom PUBLISHER Capcom DISTRIBUTOR CentreSoft PLATFORMS PS4, Xbox One, PC PRICE £59.99 (PS4/XO), £44.99 (PC) RELEASE DATE January 24th




EVER since the title was revealed, Capcom has focused on showing that Resident Evil has returned to its horror roots. Talking to MCV in December, EMEA marketing director Antoine Molant said: “At its core, more than the characters or the lore, Resident Evil is about being scared to open a door because you don’t know what’s on the other side. That’s the kind of feeling you find in Resident Evil VII as well.” Resident Evil VII is PlayStation VR-compatible, which is another key focus for Capcom. “You don’t need PSVR to play it. It’s also the same game – you buy it once, you can play it in PSVR, that’s an option,” Molant added. “It’s a great window for us to promote the game and to show [it] in its best light. Obviously having PSVR heightens all of the feeling and sensations you get.”

PREVIEWS for Resident Evil VII have been fairly positive so far, with Brett Phipps from Trusted Reviews stating that “the experience is as captivating as it was way back in 1996.” Polygon’s Philip Kollar said that the game succeeds in “breathing life into a series that had grown notably stale and disappointing in recent years.” Most early critics have also praised the title’s audio design, which seems to be instrumental to its unsettling atmosphere. However, The Verge’s Sam Byford was not convinced by the VR version: “It’s just that the VR mode is a straight translation of the regular game, and there’s little about it that feels built specifically for Sony’s hardware,” he wrote.

BASED on the popularity of the Resident Evil franchise, which is Capcom’s best-selling series with over 66m units sold since the first game in 1996, this new entry should sell quite well. Capcom’s EMEA marketing director Antoine Molant is certainly bullish about the game’s prospects: “Ideally, we’d love to sell 4m on Day One globally,” he told MCV. “Looking at what we see in the pre-orders and trends these days, we’re pretty confident we are going to get there. All the signs that we have seen across the market, whether it’s from the UK or from other territories, are very positive so far.” Some newer fans might be puzzled by Resident Evil VII’s horror take, though, since the series has pivoted away from this scares with more recent releases.




DEVELOPER: Playground Games PUBLISHER: Microsoft PLATFORM(S): Xbox One, PC PRICE: £5.79 RELEASE DATE: Out now

DEVELOPER: Blowfish Studios PUBLISHER: Blowfish Studios PLATFORM(S): PS4, Xbox One, PC PRICE: £15.99 RELEASE DATE: January 17th

DEVELOPER: Bit Byterz PUBLISHER: Digital Dragon Games PLATFORM(S): PC PRICE: £11.99 RELEASE DATE: January 25th

FOLLOWING the release of Forza Horizon 3’s first expansion, Blizzard Moutain, last December, Microsoft has delivered another piece of DLC for its racing hit. The Rockstar Car Pack features seven new vehicles and is now also included in the Forza Horizon 3 Car Pass (£24.99) and the Ultimate Edition (£79.99).

GUNSCAPE developer Blowfish is about to launch a new title in its Siegecraft IP called Siegecraft Commander. This strategy game features both real-time (for the single-player campaign) and turn-based strategy (in multiplayer mode), and will support crossplatform multiplayer. It’s also VR-compatible with HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets.

KICKSTARTED point-and-click title Memoranda will land on Steam and GOG in January. It’s the first PC game of indie studio Bit Byterz. Memoranda is a 2D story-driven title based on short stories by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, and has a unique art style thanks to its hand-drawn graphics. It will launch on consoles later this year.

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DEVELOPER Level-5 / Square Enix PUBLISHER Nintendo DISTRIBUTOR Koch Media PLATFORMS 3DS PRICE £34.99 RELEASE DATE January 20th




SQUARE ENIX announced it was porting its RPG classic Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King to 3DS back in May 2015. It released in Japan in August of the same year and is finally hitting Western shelves this January. The story has been left unchanged but Nintendo described this 3DS port as “bigger than ever.” It features two new playable characters, more side quests and back story, as well as “the ability to battle monsters on the go.” Among the new functions are also a quick-save option and the ability to pause the action to take photos in order to win in-game rewards or share them via Nintendo StreetPass. The port also features fully localised voice acting for the first time.

WHEN it landed on PS2 in 2006, Dragon Quest VIII was the first entry in the franchise to release in Europe and it gathered very positive reviews. It has a score of 89 on Metacritic, and at the time critics considered the title as one of the best RPGs ever.

THE 3DS version of Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King released in August 2015 in Japan, where the franchise is incredibly popular. The title debuted at No.1 in the Japanese charts, selling 584,716 units during its first week. Over the course of the year, the title ended up selling 864,865 copies and ranked at No.5 in the Top Ten games of 2015 in Japan. Although the original PS2 game remains one of the best selling games ever in Japan, with about 3.6m copies shifted, Dragon Quest doesn’t have the same appeal in Western markets. In Europe, the PS2 version only sold around 410,000 units. The 3DS port will certainly appeal to new players discovering the franchise and attract longtime fans at the same time.


A number of UIG’s sim titles are hitting shelves today, before bigger games launch next week, such as Gravity Rush 2 and Dragon Quest VIII FORMAT







UIG Entertainment

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January 13th Forestry 2017 - The Simulation Joe’s Diner



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Pineview Drive



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January 20th Atelier Shallie Plus: Alchemist of the Dusk Sea



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Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King




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Gravity Rush 2




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Urban Empire



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January 24th Kingdom Of Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue



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Koch Media

Resident Evil VII: Biohazard


Survival horror


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January 27th Abzû Digimon World: Next Order



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Earthlock: Festival of Magic




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Tales of Berseria



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Title Format Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare PS4, XO, PC FIFA 17 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Grand Theft Auto V PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Battlefield 1 PS4, XO, PC Forza Horizon 3 XO Watch Dogs 2 PS4, XO, PC Mafia III PS4, XO, PC Rocket League PS4, XO Pokémon Sun 3DS Steep PS4, XO Skyrim: Special Edition PS4, XO Gears of War 4 XO LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens PS4, XO, PS3, 360, Wii U, 3DS, Vita Minecraft Xbox Edition XO, 360 Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End PS4 Pokémon Moon 3DS WWE 2K17 PS4, XO, PS3, 360 Tom Clancy’s The Division PS4, XO, PC The Last Guardian PS4 Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection PS4, XO Doom PS4, XO, PC Dishonored 2 PS4, XO, PC Star Wars Battlefront PS4, XO, PC Final Fantasy XV PS4, XO Overwatch PS4, XO Super Mario Maker Wii U, 3DS Minecraft: PlayStation Edition PS4, PS3, Vita Dead Rising 4 XO Titanfall 2 PS4, XO, PC Fallout 4 PS4, XO, PC Football Manager 2017 PC Just Dance 2017 PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, Wii Minecraft: Story Mode - Complete Adventure PS4, XO, PS3, 360 LEGO Marvel Avengers PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360 NBA 2K17 PS4, XO, PS3, 360 Ratchet & Clank PS4 New Super Mario Bros 2 3DS Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Edition PS4, PC Far Cry Primal PS4, XO Homefront: The Revolution PS4, XO

Publisher Activision EA Rockstar EA Microsoft Ubisoft 2K Games 505 Games Nintendo Ubisoft Bethesda Microsoft Warner Bros Microsoft Sony Nintendo 2K Games Ubisoft Sony Ubisoft Bethesda Bethesda EA Square Enix Blizzard Nintendo Sony Microsoft EA Bethesda Sega Ubisoft Telltale Warner Bros 2K Games Sony Nintendo Square Enix Ubisoft Deep Silver

2017 started how 2016 ended, with Activision’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare at the head of the UK All Formats Top 40. This was the eighth time that the shooter had claimed the No.1 spot, placing it just one week away from equalling Modern Warfare 2’s nine-week run at the top spot. Activision’s latest entry in the shooter series was also three weeks away from equalling the series’ record for UK No.1s – 2015’s Black Ops III, which managed 11 weeks at the top of the charts. Infinite Warfare was heavily discounted over the Christmas period, with some stores selling it for as much as 50 per cent off RRP. But the shooter looks to be making up for its weak start. In second place was EA’s football juggernaut FIFA 17, which held this spot despite a 72 per cent decline in sales week-on-week. Third place went to Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V. The crime blockbuster rose one place last week. The UKmade title shot through the 6m sales milestone before Christmas. Retailer price promotions helped Forza Horizon 3 rise seven places from No.12 to No.5, with sales dipping just five per cent week-on-week. Meanwhile, renewed stock of Pokémon Sun saw sales of the SKU shoot up 91 per cent as it rose from No.36 to ninth place. This was the first time it had placed in the Top Ten since the week ending November 27th, 2016.

The Moon edition of the monster-catching game, by contrast, saw sales dip 19 per cent, yet rose 11 places to No.16. Pokémon wasn’t the only Nintendo title to benefit from fresh stock. 2DS hardware bundles saw New Super Mario Bros 2 return to the Top 40 - at No.37 – with sales rising 77 per cent week-on-week. Back in the Top Ten, the physical release of Psyonix’s Rocket League - published by 505 Games – charted at No.8. The title has continued to sell well, despite being released digitally in the middle of 2015. This came after it was revealed to be the best-selling game on PlayStation Network in 2016, and was one of the highest-performing releases on Steam for the year, too. Speaking of Steam, Grand Theft Auto Vonce again topped the PC platform’s charts. The title came in ahead of Valve’s own Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. According to Steam analytics site Steam Spy, these two games were among the highest grossing and selling titles of 2016. The same was true of last week’s No.9, Sid Meier’s Civilization VI. The latest DLC for Nicalis and Edmund McMillen’s The Binding of Isaac – Afterbirth+ – debuted in third place. The original release, The Binding of Isaac, came out in 2011, and has become a cult classic. It was remade with the help of Nicalis into The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth in 2014.

Source: UKIE/GfK Entertainment, Period: Week ending January 7th January 13th 2017

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11/01/2017 18:03


Market Data Revenue dipped by 59 per cent to £10.5m in the first week of January with sales dropping 58 per cent for the period


£30m £15m

£30m £15m

£32.5m 1,064,100 units

£40.5m 1,407,865 units

£25.9m 954,942 units £10.5m 396,861 units Week Ending December 17th

Week Ending December 24th

Week Ending December 31st

Week Ending January 7th


01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW 02 NEW 04 05 03 RE 10 RE 06






Title Publisher Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Valve The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ Nicalis Astroneer System Era The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Game of the Year Edition CD Projekt Red Planet Coaster Frontier Developments H1Z1: King of the Kill Daybreak Game Company Ark: Survival Evolved Studio Wildcard Sid Meier’s Civilization VI 2K Games Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Ubisoft

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Source: Steam, Period: Week ending January 8th

12 13 MCV905 Weekly Charts_V7.indd 2




Title Publisher Nintendo Switch Nintendo Persona 5 “Take Your Heart” Collectors Edition (PS4) Deep Silver Mass Effect Andromeda (PS4) EA South Park The Fractured But Whole - Inc Stick of Truth (PS4) Ubisoft Resident Evil 7 (PS4) Capcom Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4) Square Enix Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Inc The Peruvian Connection DLC (PS4) Ubisoft Hitman: The Complete First Season Steelbook Edition (PS4) Square Enix Mass Effect Andromeda (XO) EA

January 13th 2017

11/01/2017 18:03


MOBILE CHARTS Minecraft: Pocket Edition remained paid No.1 on iPad for the last week of the year, but was outrun by Heads Up! on iPhone. Meanwhile, Super Mario Run dominated the free games charts





TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW 02 RE 06 07 RE 10 RE 08 04


Title Heads Up! Octodad: Dadliest Catch Scribblenauts Unlimited Assassin’s Creed Identity Goat Simulator Geometry Dash Soccer Physics Football Manager Mobile 2017 The Chase

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer Warner Bros Young Horses Warner Bros Ubisoft Coffee Stain Studios RobTop Games Otto-Ville Ojala Sega Barnstorm Games

LW 02 04 05 03 08 07 RE RE RE



Title Minecraft: Pocket Edition Monopoly Game Assassin’s Creed Identity Football Manager Mobile 2017 Geometry Dash Bloons TD 5 Scribblenauts Unlimited Plague Inc. Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: December 26th – January 1st

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: December 26th – January 1st





TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW 01 06 09 04 03 08 05 10 07


Title Clash of Clans Mobile Strike Roblox Candy Crush Saga Clash Royale Minecraft: Pocket Edition Candy Crush Soda Saga Gardenscapes - New Acres Super Mario Run

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer Supercell Epic War Roblox Corporation King Supercell Mojang King Playrix Games Nintendo

LW 02 06 01 05 08 07 04 10 09


Title Clash of Clans Game of War - Fire Age Clash Royale Mobile Strike 8 Ball Pool Candy Crush Saga Super Mario Run Episode - Choose Your Story + Pretty Little Liars WWE SuperCard

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: December 26th – January 1st


01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW 05 08 02 10 RE RE RE 06 RE




TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer RobTop Games Cheetah Technology BitMango Roblox Corporation Kiloo Cheetah Technology Gameloft Hasbro GramGames

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: December 26th – January 1st

14 MCV905 Mobile Charts_V7.indd 1

Developer Supercell Machine Zone Supercell Epic War King Nintendo Episode Interactive 2K

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: December 26th – January 1st


Title Geometry Dash World Rolling Sky Word Cookies! Roblox Subway Surfers Piano Tiles 2 (Don’t Tap The White Tile 2) Despicable Me: Minion Rush Furby Connect World Six!

Developer Mojang EA Ubisoft Sega RobTop Games Ninja Kiwi Warner Bros Ndemic Creations Young Horses

LW 07 RE 08 05 02 RE RE RE RE



Title Geometry Dash World Roller Coaster VR Piano Tiles 2 (Don’t Tap The White Tile 2) 8 Ball Pool Word Cookies! Pokémon GO Rolling Sky Color Switch VR Water Park:Water Stunt & Ride For VirtualGlasse

Developer RobTop Games Fibrum Cheetah Technology BitMango Niantic Cheetah Technology Fortafy Games Kishan Chapani

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: December 26th – January 1st 14

January 13th 2017

11/01/2017 18:05

AdTemplate.indd 1

11/01/2017 16:53


Sponsored by

MARGIN MAKERS THIS WEEK: RESIDENT EVIL VII: BIOHAZARD With the next entry in Capcom’s Resident Evil series hitting shelves in a few days, Marie Dealessandri takes a look at the merchandise releasing alongside the title

CAPCOM’S Resident Evil VII: Biohazard is unquestionably the biggest game to launch this January. The latest entry in the beloved survivalhorror series will launch on January 24th and comes with a wealth of tie-in items. Merchoid has unveiled a brand new collection created by accessories brand Bioworld Europe, which comprises one hoodie, one sweater and six T-shirts. Merchoid’s community manager Jessica Adams commented: “The new Resident Evil game looks to be the most horrifying yet. We’re sure fans will want to

welcome it in by picking up some incredible Resident Evil merchandise. Don’t worry though, the prices aren’t scary.” However, all merchandise manufacturers actually want a slice of Resi’s cake, so there are a lot of other products available for Resident Evil fans to purchase, as well as two special editions, both of which are GAME exclusives in the UK. For more on Resident Evil VII, check out our recap and predictions for the game on page 10 and read more from Capcom’s associate brand manager Stefano Barolo about the title’s marketing campaign on page 23.


gaming merchandise uk

RESIDENT EVIL VII KEY ART MAXI POSTER This 61 x 91.5 cm poster is printed on high quality paper so fans can see all the details of Resident Evil VII’s creepy mansion setting. SRP: £4.99 Manufacturer: GB Eye Distributor: GB Eye Contact:

The new Resident Evil game looks to be the most horrifying yet. Jessica Adams, Merchoid

RESIDENT EVIL: GAS MASK SWEATER This jumper is part of Merchoid’s new official Resident Evil VII collection, which is due to ship on January 20th, just in time to have a new outfit to celebrate the release of the game on January 24th. It’s already available to pre-order.

‘BLOOD, SWEAT AND FEARS’ 4D VR CANDLE This is probably the most unusual tie-in item ever. This ‘4D VR candle’ allows gamers to actually experience the smell of Resident Evil VII’s Baker mansion while playing in VR. According to the merchant’s website, the candle has “notes of old timber, leather (and maybe some blood)” and will last long enough for a complete playthrough of the game.

SRP: £32.99 Manufacturer: Bioworld Europe Distributor: Merchoid Contact: 0800 652 5140

SRP: £14.99 Manufacturer: Numskull Distributor: Rubber Road Contact: 01707 800 881

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11/01/2017 18:34

MERCHANDISE GAMES RESIDENT EVIL VII LOGO T-SHIRT Here’s one of the six T-shirts Bioworld Europe created for Merchoid’s new Resident Evil VII collection.


SRP: £17.99 Manufacturer: Bioworld Europe Distributor: Merchoid Contact: 0800 652 5140

Resident Evil VII will see the return of medicinal herbs, which is a good enough reason to buy this lovely poster, created especially for the series’ 20th anniversary last year, in limited edition. SRP: $50 (£40) Manufacturer: Iam8bit Distributor: Iam8bit Contact:

RESIDENT EVIL POP! GAMES VINYL FIGURES Funko announced a new Resident Evil range, due to ship at a later point this January. Five characters from Capcom’s franchise will be available as vinyl figures: Jill Valentine (above), Leon S. Kennedy, and popular enemies the Licker (above right), Nemesis (above left) and Tyrant. They’re all available to pre-order now. SRP: £10.99 Manufacturer: Funko Distributor: Heo UK Contact:

COLLECTOR’S EDITION Exclusive to GAME, this collector’s edition doesn’t actually come with a copy of the game, but will give fans plenty of tie-in items to enjoy, including a mansion replica, a USB finger (so that’s what it’s for...), five lithographs and a 20th anniversary artbook.

RESIDENT EVIL: UMBRELLA CO. HOODIE The evil Umbrella Corporation is inseparable from the franchise, which is why Bioworld included this design in Merchoid’s new range. And by the way, if you look very carefully while playing Resident Evil VII’s demo, you can apparently see Umbrella’s logo at one point.

SRP: £99.99 Manufacturer: Capcom Distributor: GAME Contact: 020 8827 0099

SRP: £39.99 Manufacturer: Bioworld Europe Distributor: Merchoid Contact: 0800 652 5140

16 17 MCV905 Margin Makers_V4.indd 2


January 13th 2017

11/01/2017 18:34


Looking back on 2016 On the surface, 2016 would appear to be a rather disappointing year for the UK video games market, but there is some good news to be found. Alex Calvin takes a closer look at the year’s retail data


he headline news from 2016 retail is much the same as the year before – less money was made from video games software and hardware sales, but peripherals and accessories remain an area of growth. According to GfK, £776m was generated in software sales for the year – a decline of 16.4 per cent on 2015’s £927.7m. 2016 saw a number of titles, especially in the final quarter of the year, failing to hit expections or match the results of their predecessors. Meanwhile, hardware revenue dropped by 27.1 per cent to £502.9m. While this sounds like rather bleak news, this is likely driven by price drops of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles during the year. This was especially true in the second half of 2016, when both Sony and Microsoft released new, slimmer SKUs of their consoles, alongside price cuts of the original models. SOFT POWER On the software side of things, PS4 and Xbox One games now make up 79.1 per cent of retail software sales and are behind 84.5 per cent of revenue. £655.7m was generated by PlayStation 4 and Xbox One games during 2016, a dip on 2015 where the duo generated more than £700m. PS4 was once again the dominant platform, claiming 48.2 per cent of software revenue and 45 per cent of units sold. It’s brighter news on the accessories and peripherals side of things. Revenue from this sector – which includes digital cards, toys-to-life figures and accessories, including PlayStation VR – rose by 1.1 per cent for the year to £500.8m.

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18 19 20 21 MCV905 2016 Data_V6.indd 1

2016 was a slightly stronger year for new IP, with four fresh titles making the Top 50. Two new IPs made it in the Top Ten – Ubisoft’s The Division charted at No.4, ahead of Overwatch, which came in at ninth place. The boxed version of No Man’s Sky placed at No.29, while another new Ubisoft IP – Steep – charted at No.45. KICKING ON EA was once again the highestperforming publisher of the year with a 22.1 per cent share of software sales and a 26.1 per cent slice of revenue. This is a slight increase on both fronts from 2015, likely due to strong sales of Battlefield 1 and, of course, FIFA 17. Ubisoft came in at No.3. Looking at the Top 50, this appears to have been driven by strong sales of The Division, as well as Watch Dogs 2 which charted at No.8. One of the biggest challenges has been the decline in PS3 and Xbox 360 software. Market share for Xbox 360 games fell from 12.5 per cent to just 5.2 per cent, with revenue share droping from 9.0 per cent to 3.3 per cent. Meanwhile, PS3 share dropped from 7.1 per cent to 2.9 per cent, with revenue halving from 4.9 to 1.8 per cent. There’s some good news in the 3DS sales data – the handheld saw a 2.3 per cent rise in unit market share, while revenue share rose to 6.0 per cent. This is particularly impressive for a console in the final days of its cycle. This positive shift will no doubt have been driven by the massive popularity of smartphone title Pokémon Go, and the subsequent launch of Pokémon Sun and Moon in November. This helped Nintendo’s software market share increase, too.


01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11


Console Microsoft Xbox One Nintendo 3DS Microsoft Xbox 360 PlayStation 3 Nintendo Wii U PC Nintendo Wii PlayStation Vita Nintendo DS Others

Market Share 34.1.% 7.0% 5.2% 2.9% 2.5% 2.3% 0.5% 0.4% 0.1% 0.0%


01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11



Console Microsoft Xbox One Nintendo 3DS Microsoft Xbox 360 Nintendo Wii U PlayStation 3 PC Nintendo Wii PlayStation Vita Nintendo DS Others

Market Share 36.3% 6.0% 3.3% 2.1% 1.8% 1.7% 0.2% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0%

13/01/2017 09:37



The Division was 2016’s highest-charting new IP and helped publisher Ubisoft increase its market share


£1,779,700,594 (2015: £2.1bn)



(2015: £927.6m)



(2015: £689.5m)







02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20


Publisher Activision Blizzard Ubisoft Nintendo Take-Two Sony Computer Entertainment Warner Bros Microsoft Bethesda Square Enix Bandai Namco Entertainment 505 Games Koch Media Telltale Games Konami Codemasters Sega Disney Interactive Capcom Little Orbit

18 19 20 21 MCV905 2016 Data_V6.indd 2

Market Share 12.1% 9.5% 8.2% 7.4% 7.1% 6.4% 6.2% 5.4% 3.3% 1.7% 1.5% 1.2% 1.1% 1.0% 0.8% 0.7% 0.7% 0.7% 0.3%

02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20



Publisher Activision Blizzard Ubisoft Take-Two Nintendo Sony Computer Entertainment Microsoft Warner Bros Bethesda Square Enix Bandai Namco Entertainment Codemasters Koch Media 505 Games Telltale Games Konami Capcom Sega PQube Disney Interactive Sutdios

Market Share 14.2% 9.7% 7.5% 7.3% 7.1% 5.6% 5.0% 4.8% 3.6% 1.8% 1.0% 1.0% 0.8% 0.7% 0.7% 0.6% 0.5% 0.3% 0.3%

January 13th 2017

13/01/2017 09:37


2016 TOP 10 PS4 GAMES (UNITS) 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Title FIFA 17 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Battlefield 1 The Division Grand Theft Auto V Watch Dogs 2 Call of Duty: Black Ops III Mafia III The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition

Publisher EA Activision Sony EA Ubisoft Rockstar Ubisoft Activision Blizzard 2K Games Bethesda

2.51m boxed copies of FIFA 17 were sold in 2016

2016 TOP 10 XBOX ONE GAMES (UNITS) 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Title FIFA 17 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Battlefield 1 Forza Horizon 3 The Division Gears of War 4 Grand Theft Auto V Minecraft: Xbox Edition The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition Overwatch

2016 TOP 10 PC GAMES (UNITS) Publisher EA Activision EA Microsoft Ubisoft Microsoft Rockstar Microsoft Bethesda Blizzard

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Title FIFA 16 LEGO Marvel’s Avengers Minecraft: PlayStation Edition FIFA 16 Call of Duty; Black Ops III LEGO Jurassic World LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Grand Theft Auto V Minecraft: Story Mode Disney Infinity 3.0

Publisher EA Warner Bros Sony EA Activision Warner Bros Warner Bros Rockstar Telltale Games Disney

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

2016 TOP 10 WII U GAMES (UNITS) 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Title Mario Kart 8 Pokken Tournament The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD Minecraft: Wii U Edition New Super Mario Bros U + Super Luigi Splatoon Super Mario Maker Super Mario 3D World Mario & Sonic: Rio 2016 Olympic Games Paper Mario: Color Splash

January 13th 2017

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Publisher Sega EA Sega Blizzard Bethesda Blizzard EA Sega Bethesda Focus Home Interactive

2016 TOP 10 XBOX 360 GAMES (UNITS)

2016 TOP 10 PS3 GAMES (UNITS) 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Title Football Manager 2017 The Sims 4 Football Manager 2016 Overwatch Fallout 4 World of Warcraft: Legion Battlefield 1 Total War: Warhammer Doom Farming Simulator 17

Title FIFA 17 Minecraft: Xbox Edition LEGO Marvel Avengers FIFA 16 Minecraft: Story Mode LEGO Jurassic World Call of Duty: Black Ops III LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Grand Theft Auto V LEGO Dimensions

Publisher EA Microsoft Warner Bros EA Telltale Games Warner Bros Activision Warner Bros Rockstar Warner Bros

2016 TOP 10 3DS GAMES (UNITS) Publisher Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10


Title Pokemon Sun Pokemon Moon Tomadachi Life New Super Mario Bros 2 Super Mario Maker Mario Kart 7 Pokemon Omega Ruby Yo-Kai Watch Pokemon Alpha Sapphire Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon

Publisher Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo

13/01/2017 09:37










01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Product Manufacturer Xbox One Black Wireless Controller Microsoft PlayStation 4 Dualshock 4 Controller (Black) Sony PlayStation 4 Dualshock 4 Controller v2 (Black) Sony Xbox One S White Wireless Controller Microsoft Xbox One Chat Heatset Microsoft Ear Force Recon 50X Headset )Black) Turtle Beach Xbox One Play & Charge Kit (Black) Microsoft Ear Force Xbox One Headset Turtle Beach Xbox One Twin Docking Station (Black) Venom Ear Force Recon 50P Headset Turtle Beach Nintendo 3DS XL Power Adapter Nintendo Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter Microsoft PlayStation 4 Controller (Wave Blue) Sony PlayStation 4 Controller (Magma Red) Sony Ear Force Recon 30X Headset Turtle Beach Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller Microsoft Xbox One Twin Battery Packs (Black) Microsoft Guitar Hero Live: Guitar Controller (PS4) Activision Sony PlayStation 4 Camera V2 Sony Wireless Stereo Headset 2.0 (Black) Sony

18 19 20 21 MCV905 2016 Data_V6.indd 4

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

Title FIFA 17 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Battlefield 1 The Division Grand Theft Auto V Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Call of Duty: Black Ops III Watch Dogs 2 Overwatch Forza Horizon 3 Mafia III The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition FIFA 16 LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Doom LEGO Marvel’s Avengers Star Wars Battlefront Minecraft: Xbox Edition Far Cry Primal Gears of War 4 Pokémon Sun Fallout 4 Pokémon Moon Final Fantasy XV Rocket League WWE 2K17 Titanfall 2 UFC 2 No Man’s Sky Dishonored 2 Rainbow Six: Siege Ratchet & Clank LEGO Jurassic World Minecraft: PlayStation Edition Dark Souls III Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Edition LEGO Dimensions Minecraft: Story Mode Just Cause 3 F1 2016 WWE 2K16 Disney Infinity 3.0 Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Steep Halo 5: Guardians Guitar Hero Live Just Dance 2017 Skylanders Imaginators Deus Ex: Mankind Divided


Format PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC PS4 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO, PC XO PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC PS4, XO, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita, PC PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita, PC PS4, XO, PC XO, 360 PS4, XO, PC XO 3DS PS4, XO, PC 3DS PS4, XO PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO, PS3, 360 PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO PS4 PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO, PC PS4 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita, PC PS4, PS3, Vita PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO, PC PS4, PC PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360 PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, PC PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360 PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO XO PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360 PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, PC PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360 PS4, XO, PC

Publisher EA Activision EA Ubisoft Rockstar Sony Activision Ubisoft Blizzard Microsoft 2K Games Bethesda EA Warner Bros Bethesda Warner Bros EA Microsoft Ubisoft Microsoft Nintendo Bethesda Nintendo Square Enix 505 Games 2K Games EA EA Sony Bethesda Ubisoft Sony Warner Bros Sony Bandai Namco EA Square Enix Warner Bros Telltale Games Square Enix Codemasters 2K Games Disney Interactive Ubisoft Ubisoft Microsoft Activision Ubisoft Activision Square Enix

January 13th 2017

13/01/2017 09:37


Gravity of the situation Announced back in 2013, Sony’s Gravity Rush 2 will finally be hitting shelves next week as a PS4-exclusive title, making an unusual handheld-to-console move given its original Vita-only outing. Marie Dealessandri reports

Gravity Rush 2 will hit shelves on January 20th


hen Gravity Rush released in 2012, it was considered by many as one of the Vita’s best games. With a Metacritic score of 83, it’s been seen by some as a flagship title for the now-fading platform. It’s no surprise, then, that Sony decided to launch a remastered version on PlayStation 4 in early 2016. What’s more surprising though is that its sequel will not launch on Vita at all. “Gravity Rush 2 is the first in the series to be built specifically for PS4,” Sony’s product manager Jon Edwards tells MCV. “It embraces the power of the PS4 to create a dramatically more beautiful environment and a much larger world than was previously possible.“ Franchise creator Keiichiro Toyama said back in November 2015 that the game’s map is 2.5 times larger than the original’s. And a bigger map is not the only

January 13th 2017

22 23 MCV905 DPS Gravity Rush_V10.indd 1

change we can expect from this sequel, Edwards continues: “Gravity Rush 2 introduces two new gravity modes, Lunar – lighter and quicker, but less powerful – and Jupiter – heavier and slower, but stronger. The free premium DLC to all owners of Gravity Rush 2 also allows the players to become another gravity shifter, Raven, in her own story. “ Despite new playable characters and modes, the basics of the game remain the same: “Gravity Rush 2 is an action adventure that combines gravity defying gameplay with a beautiful, Studio Ghilbi-esque world,” Edwards describes. “It tells the story of Kat, a gravity shifter, who has to battle the evil forces and creatures of the city of Hekesville.”

Studio Japan has created a game that is accessible for all players.

RETAIL RUSH One of the challenges facing Gravity Rush 2, especially now it’s only launching on PS4, will be to appeal to new players.

Jon Edwards, Sony


When it released on PS4, Gravity Rush Remastered debuted at No.34 in the UK Top 40, whereas the Vita version entered the rankings at No.11 back in 2012, despite charts closing only one day after its launch date. The defying-gravity title definitely has a keener audience on Vita, who might not transition to PS4. In addition, gamers who have not played the first entry might not even consider playing this sequel. But Sony remains confident in its game: “We think that there is a lot of potential for Gravity Rush 2, as not only is there a strong marketing spend behind the title but there is a large PlayStation fan base that played, and enjoyed, its predecessor on Vita and PS4,” Edwards says. Sony’s ‘strong marketing spend’ started with a demo, that launched just before Christmas. “The Gravity Rush 2 demo is available for free on PlayStation

11/01/2017 18:06


and is a key part of our campaign as it lets the players enjoy this beautiful world and genre breaking experience first-hand,” Edwards explains. “We are amplifying this with a campaign across key media partners and delivering targeted social messaging. “Gravity Rush 2 will see ongoing support as we gain new fans and the PlayStation install base continues to grow throughout the year,” he adds. “We will continue to support the game post launch and will be getting it in front of as many new PS4 owners as possible.” ANIME ANGLE In order to do this, Sony has another ace up its sleeve: the publisher went the extra mile and decided to launch an anime to run alongside its new game, called Gravity Rush: The Animation – Overture.

It launched at the end of December, is available to watch for free online and is also included in the boxed version of the game. And Edwards believes it’s going to be the perfect way to reach players who haven’t played the first entry in the series, . “The anime has been created by the famed anime studio Studio Khara [known for its work on Rebuild of Evangelion] and bridges the gap in story that takes place between Gravity Rush and Gravity Rush 2. We felt that this complements the beautiful art style of the game and gives another experience within the Gravity Rush world.” He concludes: “Studio Japan has created a game that is accessible for all players and, although it is technically a sequel, the story allows newcomers to jump in. Combined with the demo we have a great opportunity to share the gravity altering action.“

A free-to-stream anime supports the new PS4 game.


CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK: Resident Evil VII: Biohazard WITH a franchise as big as Resident Evil, one would expect the marketing campaign to be plastered all over the place. But that won’t be the case for Resident Evil VII: Biohazard, as Capcom took a very different approach to market the new entry in the series. “We wanted to keep an air of mystery surrounding our title so we decided on a marketing strategy that would use fewer but more impactful assets, increasing the teasing and hype as we got closer to the launch date,” associate brand manager Stefano Barolo told MCV. One of the reasons behind this marketing choice is that Resident Evil VII will be pretty different from the most recent iterations of the franchise, with the emphasis back on horror over action.

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Addressing these changes was thus key to the title’s marketing campaign: “Outside traditional PR, social media and advertising, one of our main marketing tools was the Beginning Hour playable demo that allowed us to showcase the new direction of our game without giving too much away, by adding new content on a regular basis,” Barolo continued. “We’re also opening Resident Evil VII: The Experience in East London which will be open to consumers to come and live the fear of the game in real life from the 20th – 23rd January. “People can come along and try it out for free and we’ll also have a demo of the game available to everyone that wants to come

We wanted to keep an air of mystery surrounding our title. Stefano Barolo, Capcom


FORMAT: PS4, XO, PC RELEASED: January 24th PUBLISHER: Capcom DISTRIBUTOR: CentreSoft CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

and play and relax in our chill out debriefing zone.” All of this is on top of promotion across social media – including Snapchat – as well as digital ads on both specialist and mainstream websites, videoon-demand, out-of-house and cinema promotions. Capcom has also teamed up with SpecialGun Productions to make promotional videos for the survival horror title.

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FEAR NOT – 2017 IS LOOKING GREAT Forget 2016 and forget the economic naysayers - 2017 is looking to be a stellar year, for gaming at least. Here’s our rundown of the biggest games, events, hardware and trends - with a little help from the industry, of course

THE SHINIEST NEW IPS EVERYBODY says they love new game brands – after all that next title might be the one to tackle Uncharted or set itself up as the next Grand Theft Auto. Destiny and Overwatch are arguably the biggest new franchises of this console generation, but we’re hoping 2017 will bring us its first all-new single-player goliath. Looking through the contenders, though, not many of them look to have the kind of mass appeal required for Call of Duty or GTA levels of success. Horizon Zero Dawn is the current posterboy (or should that be postergirl) for shiny, graphical loveliness. The third-person view should allow protagonist Aloy to show her full personality, while the Zoid-like dinosaurs have huge merchandising appeal. Rime’s now coming to all platforms and will have a physical release, too. It’s visually stunning but it’s hard to say if it

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can live up to its looks. We’ve yet to see how the game is going to be priced and how long it runs, both of which are key aspects to understanding just how big it could be at retail. TREASURE TROVES Sea of Thieves looks set to amuse many with its co-op centred pirate antics, but with no campaign announced it’s got ‘games as a service’ written all over it, so it’s more likely to build a community over time than be a huge day one retail smash. For Honor is something refreshingly different, too, replacing the usual guns with medieval combat. There’s a campaign mode but it’s overshadowed by competitive online play - it’ll do well on PC but consoles could be trickier. Prey is looking interesting and fits into the FPS-RPG segment that BioShock

and Fallout have thrived in - and there’s no significant tie to the 2006 title, either, so it’s really a new IP. Vampyr might surprise us from the shadows. Vampires are an ever-popular subject and the action RPG could appeal widely. CONSUMER HORDES Days Gone is looking to blend the grittier feel of The Walking Dead and The Last of Us with the massed zombie crowds of Dead Rising. It should be brilliant YouTube fodder, with emergent gameplay, last-minute escapes against impossible odds, all on a huge scale. However, gamers might have to wait until 2018. A few honourable mentions: Yooka-Laylee, Pyre and Cuphead all look to be big things from smaller teams. Then, of course, the incrediblydrawn-out affair of Star Citizen’s ‘launch’ will doubtless grind on throughout 2017 and way beyond.

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ESSENTIAL EVENTS THE 2017 calendar of major events looks, admittedly, much like the 2016 calendar of major events. The big question is whether we’ll see more fragmentation, as some big players choose to stay away from the big showcases. Meanwhile, online events are likely to continue growing in size, while real-world events will get more coverage online. E3 still dominates the gaming year, kicking off on June 13th this year. The question is whether EA will continue having its own Play event across the road, and whether any other big publishers will follow suit? Gamescom, starting on the 22nd of August, remains the premier European event and MCV will again be producing daily issues of the magazine to keep English-speaking attendees up-to-date. We expect the major players to be present on the showfloor - it’s a huge consumer show after all - but most won’t hold big press conferences. Nintendo’s year will centre around the Switch launch in March, while PlayStation will undoubtedly continue with its end-of-year Experience event.


Microsoft has Project Scorpio to promote, so we should see more of that at E3 and given the predicted price we’d expect the company to make more of a fanfare over the launch than Sony did with its PS4 Pro. There’s also a number of games industry events in the UK, of course. The MCV Awards 2017 will take place at The Brewery on March 9th. Now in its 15th year, it will celebrate the best of the industry across 24 award categories. The London Games Festival will run events across the capital from March 30th. The Women in Games Awards is also set to have a third-year event in May. Later in the year we have EGX, easily the UK’s biggest consumer gaming event, on the 21st of September at the NEC. Then there’s the Games Media Awards in October, followed by the Golden Joysticks in November. Rounding off the year again will be the double-whammy of The Game Awards and PlayStation Experience, whetting appetites for 2018 and beyond with all the latest trailers and teasers.

MARTIN MATHERS, RISING STAR GAMES I’m hoping that 2017 starts delivering meaningful and exciting VR and AR games – not experiences. I worry that we’re facing a chicken/egg problem: not enough users to justify the expense of developing a title, meaning not enough good titles to pull in more users. MIKE BITHELL I think 2017 may be the year of the super budget early access game. The quality bar on successful projects has shot up, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some even bigger games made in this way in 2017. We’re also likely to see the expected quality bar at the lower budget end of indie rise higher, and the number of games at that end increase. That’s going to be a tough challenge for some folks. JASON KINGSLEY, REBELLION I’m looking forward to getting more concrete sales numbers for PlayStation VR’s first six months. On the pessimistic side, I predict some developer issues around mobile and free-to-play, as that market becomes more hit driven than ever. I think that a few companies will be reconsidering internal development structures and budgets in light of disappointingly soft sales of big franchises, and will need to make sweeping changes to respond to the market’s direction. Closer to home I’m very excited about the release of Sniper Elite 4 in February, our first self-funded and self-published triple-A title. STEFANO PETRULLO, RENAISSANCE PR In 2017, gaming will become more consolidated as a service, with free updates to keep people playing. The indie scene will start consolidating, with further huge increases in the challenge of discoverability. An inevitable change in the media landscape will rebalance the split between influencers and traditional media with the first communicating more traditional gameplay stuff and the second moving towards more ‘mature’ feature based content. GARRY WILLIAMS, SOLD OUT I’d contest digital publishing’s ‘assumed’ dominance, despite the facts. Boxed sales are a huge revenue stream, that some companies just leave on the table. Also the games industry’s ability to fixate over vapourware, snake oil and other non-invoiceable fads when they could be concentrating on existing revenue streams. I’m looking forward to seeing the new Nintendo hardware in action, alongside Xbox’s Project Scorpio grand reveal. SHANEE NISHRY, GOOGLE While there was a lot of progress on virtual reality hardware in 2016, all the systems are still lacking in content and don’t give you a reason to actually be in VR day-to-day. I expect in 2017 companies will work more on their portfolio of games and apps, offering better and higher quality games, but perhaps more important they will look at why people should remain in VR and how to bring some of their productivity and social life to it. SHAUN CAMPBELL, EA I’m looking forward to the implementation of the GSD platform, an initiative driven by the games industry, to develop a state-of-the-art sales data reporting and analysis service for both publishers and retailers, covering physical and digital sales data. As soon as retailers have signed up and are providing data to the GSD project, they’ll get immediate access to

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the participating publisher’s UK digital market data, a unique source of information on full game download sales on supported channels and platforms. ALICE BELL, VIDEOGAMER.COM In 2017 I want to play more weird indie games. I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the big releases, but actually a lot of the time it’s the weird little games I enjoy more. So I’m resolving to play them! DEBBIE BESTWICK, TEAM17 A vital warning for all creators: There are more games than ever being released, offering more choice than ever to the consumer, meaning that everyone has to raise their game yet again. Discoverability and expertise in managing every aspect of post development will be absolutely vital. It’s all about the game, lifecycle management, inventive marketing and creative communications. Pricing strategies are a problem; forcing retail prices down across the board far too early in a product’s lifecycle. We all need to watch this and act responsibly. Increasing pressure on retailers and publishers means shorter lifecycle and less funds back into development. STEVE BAILEY, IHS MARKIT 2017 will see the growing complexity of commercialisation around even the most traditional of game releases. Approaching launch as retail products with multiplying components of opportunity, and then mapping out service roadmaps that can span years. A real barrage for planners. Success in the games industry hasn’t become “random”, as is sometimes claimed. The landscape has become much more complicated and profuse, true, but we’ve still a duty to try to make better sense of it. We’ll also see VR taking tangible shape, outlining some of its future potential – and also cooling expectations in the process. All three of those things make me happy.

MUST-HAVE HARDWARE THE biggest hardware launch of the year, in terms of units, is set to be the SNES Classic Mini. We’d be gobsmacked if Nintendo doesn’t get this out in time for Christmas 2017 and make an absolute killing on the device. Stock will inevitably be in short supply so don’t delay when the announcement comes. Moving back into this century, all eyes are on the Nintendo Switch. The unusual hybrid form-factor makes this a tough one to judge. At the very least it will be great to have a console that targets a slightly different market segment, different to the one served by the PS4 and Xbox One. We’ll know a lot more

by the time we go to press in mid-January. Beyond that, it’s all going to be about Microsoft’s still-mysterious Project Scorpio. We have a good idea of how powerful the hardware is (very) but how it’s positioned compared to the Xbox One is another story. Is this just a PS4 Pro-styled mid-gen upgrade? Or will it be priced to take on mid-range gaming PCs? In VR, we expect far more handsets supporting Google’s Daydream platform. The other headsets are here to stay for now and it’s all about the software.

ALEX NICHIPORCHIK, TINYBUILD Gamers expect more value per dollar in terms of gametime, making linear games a tough sell - even triple-A titles. Non-linear games provide great content for influencers such as YouTubers and streamers too. These games can be played for countless hours, and create entertainment value, thus boosting sales. I’m excited about the emergence of Eastern Europe on the big gamedev stage. We’ve seen Poland produce fantastic hits in recent years, and you’ll be seeing more teams from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine producing very successful games. The post-soviet block always had the technical skills, and has been growing the artistic & business skillsets. JOHN RIBBINS, ROLL7 I’m excited to see where VR goes. I hope we start to step away from the gimmicky two to three minute ‘experiences’ or jump scare games and that we start to see more fleshed out, comprehensive VR games - worlds where I would like to spend hours of my time exploring. NICK PARKER, PARKER CONSULTING I’m not expecting much excitement in terms of year-onyear sales in 2017. We’ll have more clarity on how PS4 Pro and Xbox One S increase their respective installed bases and how the market will respond to Nintendo Switch. Of course, we’ll have Microsoft Scorpio to look forward to in the last quarter but until then I don’t see a major improvement in software market size in 2017. PSVR will continue to be supply constrained and the onus will be on Google Daydream to create VR industry momentum. Meanwhile on mobile and PC download, discoverability remains the greatest challenge – successful titles will be those quality titles that have corresponding marketing budgets.

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ALEX VERREY, BIG BOY PR The industry continues to look to the past for future inspiration. Whether bringing old classics to new systems (Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite), remastering for new audiences (Parappa the Rapper) or reimagining styles of old (YookaLaylee), our industry understands that older titles have enormous potential to live on through new technology. Last year, too many big games underperformed. We simply must adjust release windows to avoid the Christmas jam. Controversially, I also believe that publishers and developers are being too generous. With so many expansions, add-ons and DLC, gamers have few reasons to move on to the next title. JOOST VAN DREUNEN, SUPERDATA To me, gaming has always been a counter-irritant to everyday life. In 2016 we saw gaming culture emerge as a more widespread phenomenon. Whether it’s mobile games, eSports, or simply making friends with a stranger playing Pokémon Go, playing is a universal human activity that promotes what we have in common rather than what separates us. The coming year will certainly be a challenge for many of us. But seeing as creativity thrives in moments of cultural despair, I believe that we as an industry have an opportunity and responsibility to encourage people to not give up on ourselves. NATHAN ADCOCK, OPM RESPONSE With the launch of Switch and a new focus on mobile games, it looks like it could be a big year for Nintendo. We’ll be interested to see how this affects recruitment because of the new skillsets that Switch could require. ANDY PAYNE, BRITISH ESPORTS ASSOCIATION eSports will start to attract the really big brands and traditional broadcasters who are desperate to connect with millennials and that will get exciting and will bring challenges mainly for the traditional broadcasters who could well find themselves outflanked and outmanoeuvred by companies who are active in the space already, such as Twitch. In terms of a resolution for the new year: accept that changes to the industry will always happen, but they may not happen as fast as I think. Or they may just go faster!

BANG-ON TRENDS IT’S the make-or-break year for mainstream VR. PlayStation VR will need a handful of proper gaming titles in order to shift more units. There’s little announced at present beyond Resident Evil VII, so a lot rides on the success of that title’s VR mode. A significant price drop on the headset might persuade consumers that they’re happy with shorter ‘experiences’ rather than full games, though. The strain of potentially developing for VR alongside traditional gaming will be compounded by a new hardware platform in Switch, plus working out how to make the best of the PS4 Pro and the even more powerful Project Scorpio. Even if developers are technically on top of all that, the industry will still need to get it across to an increasingly bewildered consumer. Indie titles are likely to be squeezed this year as the huge number of games entering the market potentially overwhelms demand, while discovery becomes increasingly problematic, on Steam in particular. Even the best titles may struggle to stand over the masses

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through word of mouth alone, so clever marketing will be needed. Similarly, many mobile games will struggle as the free-to-play space is increasingly consolidated into a small number of huge titles - with correspondingly huge marketing budgets. After Pokémon and Mario in 2016, we should see more big-name properties enter the mobile market, though we doubt many will be brave enough to follow the Super Mario Run pricing model. The shift from physical to digital retail is bound to continue too. We’ll see more titles designed to build a long-lasting player bases, with regular content updates and in-game monetisation via long-term player retention. More money will get spent on fewer games, following in the footsteps of the mobile model. Then there’s the old chestnut of the crowded winter release schedule, which has now been compounded by Black Friday price cutting. With the sales event coming so close after the biggest launches of the year, will publishers adjust their strategy when it comes to the traditional November releases?

KAT OSMAN, LICK PR I see YouTubers being thrown into the mix with traditional press in terms of being the responsibility of PRs rather than community managers. I’m also excited about both Sniper Elite 4 and Agents of Mayhem. HARVEY EAGLE, XBOX eSports boomed in 2016, with big mainstream media brands eager to become involved in the broadcasting of professional tournaments. Next year, expect to see the growth of grassroots eSports tournaments and leagues at a local level alongside the continued proliferation of professional tournaments. Similarly, the popularity of game streaming has exploded in the past few years, with the likes of Twitch, YouTube and Beam; Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Beam will provide more choice for how gamers can watch and interact with their favourite gaming streams. 4K gaming will continue to gain traction. With an expected three million 4K enabled TV’s in people’s homes by the end of 2016, new more powerful games consoles such as Project Scorpio will arrive in 2017 to deliver true 4K gaming experiences. Finally, next year we’ll see more young teens enter the PC gaming space, as some make the transition from playing games like Minecraft on tablet, whilst others are growing up watching their gaming heroes compete for huge prizes playing games like League of Legends and Dota 2. DAN KILBY, IGN


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FEATURES OUTLOOK 2017 People have the option to consume content in more ways and in more places than ever before. As such, it’s important that we, as an industry, are thinking about how best to engage our users, players and fans in ways that are appropriate for - and tailored to - each content platform. I’m excited to see how developers respond to the way people are playing VR now that it’s in people’s homes, and in turn, how that will impact the next wave of VR games. There’s a tendency to focus on the mass, who may or may not care about video games, at the expense of the core players who evangelise to their peers, guide tastes and contribute online. This core is actually a big group of people, and addressing them early will always be the best way to create buzz. TIM WOODLEY, 505 GAMES 505 Games is looking forward to capitalizing on and improving on the best practice it has garnered over the course of 2016, especially with regards to the everchallenging discoverability on digital platforms. We have managed to break into the Top Ten with the majority of our Steam releases this year, a couple even reaching No.1 and we are chomping at the bit to bring these learnings to bear on our 2017 releases and adapting them for connected console, all the while being aware that what worked last year may not work moving forward. The lesson of course, as always, is to remain vigilant and alert to our ever-changing consumer world. RICH KEEN, SONY 2017 will see gaming become ever more immersive both via the continued growth of VR and through the adoption of 4K and HDR technology. The look of amazement on the faces of gamers when they take off the PS VR headset off for the first time or when they see games in 4K and HDR says it all. ALEX COULTATE, SONY We are expecting to see continued mainstream awareness and adoption of eSports, with grass roots opportunities for players to engage via the likes of GAME’s ‘Belong’ and increased attendance and viewership of professional events, becoming a staple of gaming culture.

SUPER HEAVYWEIGHT FRANCHISES 2017 is seeing a rare stellar alignment of gaming stars. Resident Evil VII is shuffling along first (see page 10). But with consumers feeling the post-Christmas pinch it may take a couple of weeks to really gauge its impact. It’s a great way to kick off the year and a big Q1 line-up. Ghost Recon Wildlands comes next, on March 7th. The first game in the series since 2012, it will be interesting to see how consumers receive the franchise back. It looks very capable, with Ubisoft’s open world expertise tied to a campaign fighting drug dealers in South America. The third-person view, open world and plentiful vehicles could result in a militarised GTA rival. Mass Effect Andromeda, late March, is another established franchise. The hugely-anticipated

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Then there’s Star Wars Battlefront 2, which will tie into Episode VIII. The film is released in December, so expect a massive November launch for the game, with additional multiplayer maps from the new film soon after. This should be the biggest (nonfootball) title of the year. Then we have the return of Assassin’s Creed and, of course, a Call of Duty game. Details for both are thin at present. The former is being made by the same team that gave us the excellent Black Flag, has a working title of ‘Empire’ and is set in ancient Egypt. The Call of Duty development roundabout puts Sledgehammer on point this year, last responsible for Advanced Warfare, but rumours suggest we’re looking at a historical setting, maybe in Vietnam.

title should be a No.1 and sell a truckload of merchandise. As we go to press, rumours are also circulating that Zelda: Breath of the Wild will appear alongside the Switch in March. If Nintendo can manage this, then its sales figures will surely only be limited by the supply of Switch hardware. Expect the title to sell strongly throughout the year if Switch is a hit. BIG HITTERS Then we have five huge games, all of which are coming sometime later this year. Red Dead Redemption 2 is riding into town Fall 2017 and though it’s no GTA (but what is?) it should build on the first outing and deliver some big numbers, thanks to the Rockstar allure and the current trend for cowboy hijinks, thanks to WestWorld.


Finally there’s Destiny 2. This has huge potential if it can both satisfy old hands and draw in new players alike. If it gets it right, we should be talking Game of the Year. PRIZE FIGHTERS In terms of platform exclusives, neither PS4 or Xbox One has a guaranteed monster hit locked in for 2017. So it will be more of a collective effort on both parts. On PS4, Gran Turismo Sport will be roaring into stores, and should easily prove the biggest driving release this year. We might also see the rebooted God of War, but that looks more likely to show up in 2018. Microsoft has Crackdown 3. Its destructible cities look incredible and its technologydriven positioning will make it an ideal partner for Project Scorpio.

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Going Dutch: Soedesco talks physical vs digital Dutch publisher Soedesco is taking indie titles and publishing them on every possible format, both digitally and at retail, and it also does PC-toconsole ports. MCV talks to executive manager Hans van Brakel

Soedesco brought PC Indie hit Reus to PS4 and Xbox One

How would you describe Soedesco? We’re a worldwide publisher of both digital and boxed games on multiple platforms. Why are you keen on retail publishing when the trend is moving to digital? We are keen on doing both digital and retail publishing. Retail and digital are two separate markets. So if you can make money in both, why not be active in both? Besides it’s becoming harder and harder to grab gamers’ attention. Being in shops around the world is one of the best ways to get that attention. How big is the discoverability problem on Steam? The gaming industry is the most dynamic industry in the world; what worked three years ago doesn’t necessary work now. So, yes, discoverability on Steam is

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just Steam and console, even the business on Xbox Live and PSN is different. But in the end it all starts with making a game people want to play, after that you need to bring it to as many platforms as possible at the same time.

definitely a challenge and the strategy of going only to Steam or first to Steam might not work anymore and every game company should look into new opportunities. Games have never been available on so many platforms at any time in history. It’s a result of one platform not being enough anymore. But the result is that the amount of people that are playing games has never been this high. So it’s more work and it costs more money to reach the right amount of people. But the payoff is also much bigger than it was in the past.

How do you find titles to publish, how do you choose? A combination of a lot networking online, going to events, and research. Then we look at the quality of the title. Then it’s a matter of matching our expectations with the developer’s expectations. How quickly can you take a Steam title, developed on an engine such as Unity, and turn it around for console release? Not quickly enough. But a much a more important factor is timing, even though it can be done fast, we still don’t release just to

Are the consoles’ digital stores a better place to do business? That depends on various factors. The console digital business has been very good to us, the same goes for our business on Steam, it’s just different. It’s not 29

release. Going out somewhere from mid-October until first week of January makes no sense for small to mid-sized indie titles. So if the schedule ends up in that timeframe we would push it anyway. So it’s not a matter of ‘how quickly’, it’s a matter of how much the strategy you create makes sense for both parties. You work with a lot of indie developers. What does a typical deal look like? Do you pay the developer upfront plus royalties per sale? It’s not really important what the typical deal looks like. I have made deals in a lot of different ways. It’s much more important what fits to the need of the developer. But even more important is to know if we have the same expectations. Even though you might be able to make a deal. If the developer expects ten times as many sales as us, then it makes no sense going further with each other. How do you promote your titles, both for digital and retail releases? Every title deserves a special approach. But in general the most important thing is to talk with your target audience. I’m not selling our games, the fans are selling our games. If they’re enthusiastic about it than they will talk about it with their friends, or even strangers, on social media and then it will sell. You also port titles to console, is this done in-house? Every project deserves the best treatment we can get for it. Some ports are handled in house, some are being done by trusted partners. Are you looking to acquire more IP in the future? We are not specifically looking for it but we always keep all options open. What’s going to be the biggest challenge for Soedesco going into 2017? We don’t have challenges, only goals. The goal for this year is the same as every year: to get a bigger and wider audience to play Soedesco games than the year before. January 13th 2017

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Can solve discoverability? With more games being played more socially across more platforms, it’s arguably becoming harder for gamers to keep track of it all. Add in a glut of digital content, making it difficult for publishers to find the right consumers for their products, and a dedicated social platform for gaming sounds like a great idea. MCV talks to Sean Fee, co-founder and CEO at

How would you summarise We call it a ‘social discovery platform for gaming’ because we’re really looking to connect the whole gaming community to the things they would be interested in. Other social platforms like Facebook and Twitter are great for connecting users to their existing network, and we do that too, but we also aim to deliver a great discovery experience on top of that, which is specifically focused on gaming. How does it differ from more mainstream social offerings? Unlike other social networks, is 100 per cent focused on providing a dedicated community for gaming. Whereas other services connect gamers to their preexisting network of real world acquaintances and then jam in gaming somewhere, is a home just for gaming, be it for community building, sharing game achievements, or consuming gaming content. How do you integrate with other social platforms? People have spent a lot of time building and managing their social accounts, so we look to leverage that rather than try to make them start from scratch again. So, when a user creates their profile, we help them to connect to Facebook and Twitter so they can find their friends and cross post to them from their profile. Then they can connect to Twitch, YouTube, Hitbox or Beam to automatically pull in their streams or videos-on-demand and keep their profile and fans up to date. We also connect to January 13th 2017

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cross-platform gamer. What makes special is that it is platform agnostic. It has the potential to be the glue that ties these communities together.

CEO Fee wants to grow to become an eseential service for all gamers

Why is now the right time for a service like yours? Discovery is still a big issue, but generic social media services have paved the way for services like We see a real opportunity to create a centralised place for all of this content, while still providing a seamless experience for those looking to interact across other platforms.

Steam and Xbox to automatically pull in the user’s game libraries and help them find other players, groups or new game. How’s take-up going? It’s going really well. We’ve had some great organic growth in some areas and the players that have used the platform so far have created a really friendly environment. At the moment, we’re seeing a lot of content creators and broadcasters embrace our platform, which bodes well for the future. Since being acquired by SplitmediaLabs earlier this year we’ve been really focused on doing some major upgrades to the platform with a view to really growing the player base in 2017.

Aren’t the platform holders PSN, Xbox, Steam - already doing this stuff? They are, but ultimately they exist to serve the focus of selling more games and keeping users engaged with their products, offering no meaningful way to interact with other communities. This is a problem if you’re a 30

How can help the industry, how can others work with you? can provide better discovery and connectivity across the game industry. We have one of the largest game databases in the world aggregating the community’s feedback, YouTube uploads, images and more, giving developers vital insights into the habits of their player base. For Early Access or Kickstarter developers looking to proactively grow a community, we have a range of tools available for voting on new features, providing vital feedback and more.’s discovery tools could become a vital part of promotion and community building and we have already seen a number of positive case studies from indie game developers finding and growing their audience through the platform. In the future, we plan to roll out sophisticated event management tools, catered towards both the eSports community and tournament organizers, as well as ways to incentivise attendees both attending physically or watching online. What do you want to achieve with in 2017? We’re looking to release a major update to the platform in Q1 of 2017 and then, from that point onwards, I think we’ll be really ready to try and grow it into something that becomes a part of a player’s daily life.

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CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE IN THE GAMES INDUSTRY Thursday 9th March 2017, The Brewery, London

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10/01/2017 13:59


Keeping pace with changing gaming habits Jens Bader, CCO at online payment specialist Secure Trading, discusses the shifts in gamer purchasing habits and how merchants can adapt to such changes

GAMING is big business across the world and the UK gaming market alone is worth £4.2bn, with digital console and PC gaming amounting to over half of this. The market has radically changed over the last few years, with a move away from discbased to digitally distributed games, via smartphone, PC or console app stores. With this comes a transition in the way games are paid for and in the factors influencing payment. In our recent survey of UK gamers it was clear that in order to compete in the market, gaming operators must provide a variety of payment services and build confidence in their security to attract and retain gamers. MEETING ONLINE DEMAND Currently, gaming purchases are twice as likely to be made online – 58 per cent – compared to in-store – 33 per cent – and two

Streamlining the payment journey and reducing friction points such as entering payment card details - is critical for conversion and increasing returning gamers. This is especially relevant when users play on mobile devices: the requirement to complete multiple data fields leads to a high rate of abandoned carts on smartphones and tablets.

in ten gamers would rather pay for gaming services on a subscription basis. Our research also highlights the need to provide gamers with their preferred choice of online payment method. Individual games are generally designed for specific gamer personas, for example, and this will help identify the most appropriate payment methods. The key factors will include gender, age and preferred device. Indeed, we’ve found that debit cards are the most popular payment method in the 18-to-24 age group, while for those over 25, credit card is nearly three times more likely to be used than by those aged 18-to-24. It is also worth considering the potential advantages subscription based payments can have for both gaming merchants and consumers; ensuring a steady revenue stream and also negating the need to enter payment details multiple times to play.

BUILDING CONFIDENCE IN PAYMENT SECURITY Gaming habits are also changing due to the cyber security threat. Eight per cent of gamers have had their gaming account or profile taken over or hacked, for example, and this rises to 18 per cent for those that identify as ‘hardcore gamers’. It’s not just cyber hacking either that gamers are cautious of; around ten per cent have experienced payment faults or been wrongly charged due to a game or app error. This

Secure Trading says that consumers are twice as likely to buy games online on platforms such as Steam than at physical retail

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Gaming habits are changing due to cyber security threats. Jens Bader, Secure Trading

has resulted in one in five of all gamers within the UK feeling unconfident that payments made through gaming platforms are secure. There are a few ways in which merchants can help to reassure consumers when it comes to cyber security. Firstly, subscription based payments bypass the need to repeatedly enter payment details and therefore minimise the chances of errors. Secondly, the payment process and online payment gateway must be fast and responsive to build customer confidence that they have been directed to the correct site, and that their data is secure. Displaying recognisable security trust badges on home pages and payment pages are also vital steps in reassuring consumers of the security of a website. By identifying and addressing these two key trends in online gaming – payment method choice and security concerns – merchants can build robust and secure gaming experiences that are tailored to the modern gamer. This will increase repeat custom and, for the industry as whole, open up the field to new types of gamers who perhaps may have been hesitant previously.

11/01/2017 18:31


VRcade: A new golden age of gameplay? The UK and Ireland country manager of retail analysts Context Jonathan Wagstaff talks about how virtual reality has put gameplay back at the core of the development process

IN the 1970s, two moving lines and a dot bouncing across a black screen created a new industry and changed the face of global entertainment. The arcade game was so popular that, Atari boss Nolan Bushnell discovered, teenagers creating quarters out of ice so that they could play for free. Until then, only players of the traditional Japanese game Go had ever heard the word Atari. Ten years later Atari’s console was in every household in America. During this pioneering age of gaming, developers were recruited almost exclusively from prestigious Ivy League universities and the platforms on which they were expected to work were extremely complex. Despite all these limitations Atari produced some of the greatest games of all time, some of which are still played today with graphical upgrades. Early console hardware was so primitive that developers had to rely on ingenious gameplay elements. Moreover, nobody had ever done this before – they were literally inventing a genre of entertainment. There wasn’t much time to care about how a game should look when you didn’t know how that game should be played. During this first year of readily available, high-end, consumer virtual reality there has been some criticism of early launch titles. Reviewers have noted that many are simple $5 experiential games rather than fully-fleshed out, triple-A releases. In fairness to Oculus studios, there are games such as Chronos which provide 30-plus hours of top notch storydriven gameplay.

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For those of us who went for Oculus Rift over HTC Vive, we had to wait till recently to get our hands on the haptic Touch controllers. Lo and behold, one of the first titles for the Touch is Ripcoil, an online PvP experience which involves a disc and two players in a virtual arena or court. Sound familiar? Out of the all the games currently available for the Oculus Touch this is the release which has occupied the bulk of my spare time. The game mechanics are beautifully simple, easy to learn, physically engaging (I was sweating buckets after 30 minutes), and - above all else - a lot of fun. There have been complaints that games like Ripcoil lack a singleplayer element or story mode, but

for me this misses the point. I don’t think I’m alone in wanting to see simple but addictive games in these nascent days of consumer VR. Once the initial wow-factor of being in a HD virtual world has passed, gameplay is going to be key. INNOVATIVE MECHANICS VR forces game developers to start with how you play the game, rather than how huge the sandbox world should be, or which Hollywood actors voice the disposable, cookie-cutter marines. As our VR survey shows, people, and particularly gamers, are excited by VR gaming, but many consumers could quickly be alienated by yet another highbudget FPS. The popularity of games like Angry Birds are proof

VR forces devs to start with how you play the game. Jonathan Wagstaff, Context

that innovative mechanics can lead to mass adoption, and there is no reason why the green shoots of experiential games can’t grow into forests of triple-A titles. Perhaps in a few decades we’ll look back at 2016 as the golden age of VR gaming, and for many this is why being part of those first steps is so exciting.

Ripcoil is a good example of ‘simple but addictive games’ that we should see more of now that VR is reaching the mainstream, Wagstaff says


January 13th 2017

11/01/2017 18:33



INSIDERS GUIDE: SpecialGun Productions SpecialGun’s Jim Trinca talks about working with Capcom for Resident Evil 7, promoting Loading Bar, community-driven content and Nintendo Switch Tell us about your company. We’re a video production company with a slant toward creative marketing. The three of us come from different disciplines that merge together beautifully for this kind of space. Steve Burns is a great writer and producer, who has worked in the games press and game development. I’ve made a career out of covering games on YouTube in variously imaginative ways. And Dave Mills, our director, comes from feature films and TV. He’s helped make everything from Downton Abbey to Star Wars. Together we’re a team of professional filmmakers, writers and marketeers who produce great promotional video content.

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What successes have you seen recently? We started working with Capcom to promote Resident Evil 7, which was a huge proud moment for us. All three of us are huge fans of the games and we’ve done some great stuff with Capcom in our previous professions, so it’s been very fun and natural to work more closely with them. We also worked with Loading Bar to produce comedy shorts promoting their two bars and the fact that they now sell games in them.

become a huge thing in the past couple of years. In a lot of the firms we work with, it feels like their fan communities are treated not as an outside influence, but almost like a part of the same organism. What are you looking forward to in games over the next year? I’m very excited about Switch, which is something I couldn’t say about Wii U. Nintendo has another game changer on its hands, and seeing the lines blur between mobile and console is going to be very interesting. Incidentally, if you watch the (bad) announcement video for Wii U, and then watch the (good) one for the Switch, it’s like a masterclass in marketing.

What are the biggest trends affecting you right now? It’s always been getting more and more community focused, but that’s


WHO? Specialism: Video production Location: 93 Clarence Avenue, London, SW4 8LQ Contact: W: P: 020 8405 7694 E: contact@specialgunproductions. com

11/01/2017 18:35






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: CREATIVE DISTRIBUTION

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11/01/2017 18:35


GLOBAL DISTRIBUTORS If you are looking for new partners overseas, then look no further


CLD DISTRIBUTION Rue du Grand Champs 14 , B 5380 Fernelmont Belgium Tel: +32 81 83 02 02 Fax: +32 81 83 02 09 Email: Web: home of &

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 : Website: |


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: U.A.E. Website: Group Website:

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


WORLDWIDE CLICK ENTERTAINMENT LIMITED Email: Web: Phone: +44 (0)203 137 3781

GAME OUTLET EUROPE AB PO Box 5083, S-650 05 Karlstad, Sweden Sales dept: Sales dept: Purchase dept: Purchase dept: Web:

MCV WORLDWIDE Editorial: + 61 (0)424 967 263

Advertising: + 61 (0)417 084821


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 Hungary, CTC Trading, Magnew, PlayON, Stadlbauer ICELAND Sena, Myndform, Samfilm, Ormsson INDONESIA Maxsoft, Uptron, Technosolution IRELAND MSE Group, Baumex JAPAN Ajioka, Happinet, Jesnet NORWAY Bergsala, Game Outlet, Koch Media, Nordic Game Supply, Nordisk Film, Pan Vision POLAND CD Projekt, Cenega, Galapagos, LEM PORTUGAL Ecoplay, Infocapital, Koch Media, Namco Bandai ROMANIA Best Distribution SERBIA ComTrade, Computerland/Iris Mega, Extreme CC SPAIN Digital Bros, Koch Media, Namco Bandai Partners, Nobilis SWEDEN Bergsala, Koch Media, Namco Bandai, Nordic Game Supply, PAN Vision, Wendros, Ztorm (digital) UAE Red Entertainment Distribution, Pluto Games (LS2 Pluto), Viva Entertainment, Gameplay Entertainment, Geekay Distribution


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January 13th 2017

12/01/2017 09:34


OFF THE RECORD This week, Mario is caught in the act *again*, EA’s social media team makes a revealing gaff and Capcom tries to scare the hell out of us BRICKING IT ONCE again, Nintendo has teamed up with McDonald’s to have Mario toys in its Happy Meals. Last time around – in August 2015 – a news story did the rounds about a Plymouth man complaining about one such Mario toy. Why, you ask? Because the arm swivelled, causing some to say it looked like the plumber mascot was wanking. It turned out the whole thing *may* have been a practical joke on the man in question. We called it a ‘wanking kerfuffle’ at the time. Eurogamer said it was a ‘wank prank’. Regardless, you might think that Nintendo and McDonald’s would be *super* careful about its next line of toys. But alas, some have pointed out that this new figure – picture courtesy of Twitter user @johngalleyuk – with Mario, fist clenched, sat on a pile of brown bricks, looks like he is going to the toilet. What next? Mario caught in a Prague hotel room, hiring prostitutes, engaging in...

THE WRONG KING OF BAUBLE WE’VE all made gaffs at work. Hell, I know I’ve made numerous mistakes in my time at MCV. But imagine if one of your mistakes went viral? In a quickly-deleted post over the Christmas period, EA Sports’ Madden NFL account tweeted a picture of a brand new Xbox One and Madden NFL 17 bundle under a Christmas tree. The problem? Well, one of the baubles on the tree was reflective and Twitter users were quick to point that one could see a picture of the person responsible for the pic in the reflection. Oh, and he was in just his underpants. The post was hastily deleted, unsurprisingly, but you have to laugh. Poor guy.

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11/01/2017 18:35


HOUSE OF HORRORS AFTER going all gung-ho and action for the last decade, Resident Evil is returning to its horror roots with the restrained and frankly terrifying Resident Evil VII. And to promote the brand new game, publisher Capcom has produced Resident Evil VII: The Experience Located in London’s East End, participants are cast as investigative journalist interns helping production on a paranormal TV series. The 45-minute experience is meant to remind players of the game it’s promoting, meaning there’s a very low chance of us trying it out. Not that we’re not fans of the series, but have you SEEN what’s in this house? Dead-eyed zombie women and men with big axes - that’s what.

HORSE WITH NO NAME IT’S a big of a mixed bag when it comes to games being covered outside of the games media. A lot of the time it’s awful Daily Mail articles about how video games are making us into killers or some such. But every now and again we get a nice surprise. Like, for example, Darksiders Warmastered Edition (a game in which players are cast as one of the horseman of the apocalypse) being covered in Horse & Hound magazine. How did THQ Nordic’s game manage this? Well, the publisher produced a special edition of the title that came with a ‘scalding gallow horse stable’, with room to house two phantom horses (which the magazine notes are sold separately). The special edition would set consumers back £66,600 – geddit?

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January 13th 2017

11/01/2017 18:35


Green Man Gaming Asks...

BioWare has stated that it doesn’t expect to port Mass Effect Andromeda to the Nintendo Switch. How do you feel about that? #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!

Nintendo needs to worry about making their own titles to make the system sell. 3rd party ports are not a selling point.

I’m guessing most games we use on current generation consoles won’t work on the Nintendo Switch. No space for good hardware.



Nintendo historically succeeds with quality first party and single-platform third party games. Not multiplatform downgrades.

Not surprised, don’t care. My newest Nintendo products have been the original Wii and a DS for a while.



Doesn’t surprise me. Some developers will make this choice. Nintendo will have to prove it’s worth it. I hope they can...

Not surprised in the slightest. Why would you waste time and effort porting something to a console that weak?



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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 © Newbay 2017 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.

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