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VALVE this week announced the demise of Steam Greenlight in a blog post. Greenlight has been running for five years now, allowing consumers to vote for the games they most want to see on the online store. It will be replaced with a new system called Steam Direct, which should launch in Spring. The new system will charge a recoupable fee per title but the figure is yet to be set.




WITH Valve stating the pergame-fee could be anywhere from $100 to $5,000 there’s still a lot of uncertainty around Steam Direct. The old Greenlight system charged a one-off $100 charitable donation per developer. Small indie developers were predictably the first to speak up against the new system. Rami Ismail of Vlambeer came out swinging: “Steam Greenlight is dead, long live Steam Pay-light. I’ve always disliked monetary barriers as quality assurance.” Jonathan Blow, creator of Braid and The Witness, called for patience, branding media coverage as fake news: “Polygon and Kotaku have published articles about how indies think Steam Direct is some huge terrible emergency. This is false.”

PC GAMER was pleased to see the back of Greenlight, saying the system “sucks“ and is “easily gamed”. Steam Direct will mean “every game will have a simple path onto the platform.“ Though it admits that setting that fee will be very tricky indeed. Eurogamer said Greenlight had “long devolved into a holding pen that games sat in“ and rubbished the idea that there could ever be "too many games" on Steam. The problem isn’t quantity of course, it’s finding the right good game for you. It worried that too high a fee could provide an opportunity for “predatory publishers [and] terrible contracts.” Polygon noted Valve was giving up on curation altogether. “Anyone who can pay the fee can get their game on Steam.”

GREENLIGHT has been responsible for getting 6,135 games on Steam to date, with another 5,452 to come. So Steam Direct is going to be a big deal. Valve seems to have been stirring the pot with its $100-to$5,000 pricing tease, maybe trying to elicit a debate and with great success to boot. The move is actually just the next step in Valve’s attempts to improve discoverability on the increasingly congested service. It claims that features such as discovery queues, streamlined refunds, and Steam Curators have helped double the average number of titles sold. For now there’s nothing else to do but wait for more information from the famously close-lipped Valve in the Spring.




ZELDA series producer Eiji Aonuma said: “The world of Hyrule, which we created for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is so large and vibrant that we wanted to offer more for players to experience within it. With this new Expansion Pass, we hope that fans will play, explore and enjoy the game even more."

NOT everyone was best pleased by the news, with Kotaku stating: "You know times are strange when even Zelda games are getting season passes. [...] The second content pack could be great, but Nintendo charging for a hard mode and Cave of Trials? And not letting buy the new dungeon/story separately? Yikes." Polygon took a more measured approach, noting that Nintendo "has long dabbled in pricey premium content - and largely with success," citing 3DS title Fire Emblem: Awakening as an early success story as well as Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Meanwhile, GamesRadar said it was looking forward to having "an excuse to dive back into Breath of the Wild over the holiday break."

NINTENDO might have had a rather rocky relationship with DLC in recent years, but it now looks to be forming a major part of Nintendo's post-release strategy. Wii U titles such as Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon have both seen a lot of success with their respective DLC packages, and we wouldn't be at all surprised if Nintendo's big Christmas Switch title Super Mario Odyssey came with a season pass as well, providing players with extra levels and brand-new worlds to explore.

NINTENDO is to release a season pass for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - a first for the core Zelda series. Costing £17.99, it will be available for both Switch and Wii U on March 3rd. The Expansion Pass will give players three extra treasure chests on Day One, and access to two additional content packs arriving later this year, the first arriving this summer while the second is due over Christmas.

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15/02/2017 17:54


THE EDITOR PEOPLE POWER 15,000 members of the public are going to be let into E3 this year. But weren't they there already? In rushing to your next meeting across the crowded show floor, you could easily be forgiven for thinking E3 was already a public event. Every major stand has long queues to play the most exciting new titles, and just who has time to stand in those queues? With briefings and meetings plus many opportunities to stop for a coffee and a chat - standing in line, possibly for an hour or more, is the last thing many of us have time for at E3. Weighed down by bags of freebies and appropriately attired to spend hours-upon-hours sitting on carpet tiles, a significant part of the crowd at E3 has never looked like it meant business. To be

honest, many just looked like they were there to play some games and meet up with some friends it's all right for some! Now, that doesn't mean they aren't industry - everyone from triple-A devs to GameStop parttimers has the right to attend the event, just as I attended ECTS as an Electronics Boutique part-timer back in the '90s. Yes, some people get passes year-on-year based on the flimsiest of reasons. But who cares? E3 needs them. All of these people may not attend meetings or cut deals at the show, but they will spread the message to friends, colleagues and customers, saying what they liked and didn't like, building word-of-mouth around the show, even more so today thanks to social media.

Bring 'em on, I say. There's no better way to remind the rest of the world just how big and popular our industry is.

More importantly, without a buzzing showfloor of people actually enjoying games, media coverage of the event would flop. Imagine a gaggle of YouTubers all desperately fighting to stand on the one spot in front of the only stand full of people playing games. There are millions of gamers who'd love to come to E3, at least once, and without the milling crowds, the industry could suffer something of a crisis of confidence. So bring 'em on, I say. There's no better way to remind the rest of the world just how big and popular our industry is. Finally, I'd like to say thanks to MCV's Alex Calvin, who is moving on to a new industry role after over three years of hard graft and nearconstant worrying. sbarton@nbmedia.com

Entries now open for Women in Games Awards 2017

Comedian Rob Beckett to host MCV Awards 2017

ENTRIES are now open for Women in Games Awards 2017. The deadline for nominations is March 10th 2017. Taking place on Thursday May 18th in Central London, Women in Games 2017 will be celebrating the following categories: New Development Talent, Businesswoman of the Year, Creative Impact, Career Mentor, Rising Star, eSports

COMEDIAN Rob Beckett will host this year’s MCV Awards. The 8 Out of 10 Cats team captain, plus regular guest on Mock the Week, Taskmaster, Live at the Apollo, has also appeared in sitcom Fresh Meat, Drunk Histories and co-hosted


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Contender and Outstanding Contribution. Sponsors include UKIE, Twitch and Aardvark Swift. We look forward to hearing about the success stories of women working in the UK games industry. To find out more about the event and how you can submit an entry, head to www. womeningamesawards.com


I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! The MCV Awards take place on Thursday, March 9th 2017 at The Brewery, Chiswell Street, London. There are 24 awards up for grabs across retail, publishing, PR and more.

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Koei Tecmo: Nioh’s opened a brand new audience for us By Alex Calvin THE Japanese publisher of recently-released action RPG title Nioh says the game has helped expand its audience. Speaking to MCV, the firm’s president Hisashi Koinuma said that while the publisher takes pride in its more traditional Japanese lineup, which includes the likes of the Warriors series and Nobunaga’s Ambition, its more Westernfocused releases such as Attack on Titan and Nioh have brought in a new segment of gamers. Nioh was published by Koei Tecmo in Japan, and was developed by its infamous Team Ninja development studio. In all other territories, the release was handled by Sony Interactive Entertainment. The game opened to strong reviews, standing at 87 on Metacritic, and debuted at No.2 in the UK charts. “We are very happy with the global success of Nioh,” Koinuma told MCV. “This game has been long in development and has been created with all the creative force of our company behind it. The positive reviews and strong performance has truly been a wonderful validation of our efforts so far, as has the overwhelming reception from the players themselves.

“At Koei Tecmo we have always taken pride in the historical elements and Japanese character of our IP line up, something that has been evident in previous releases like Ninja Gaiden, Nobunaga’s Ambition, and our Warriors franchise. With Nioh, we have worked tirelessly to bring the essence and the spirit of that trademark direction into a new and challenging action RPG. “With the invaluable help of Sony Interactive Entertainment, we released two early demos, Alpha and Beta, and we were able to give players all over the world a teaser of what we were planning for them while simultaneously being open to their feedback. “As a result we believe we were able to adapt to their expectations and reach out to a brand new audience that hadn’t played our games in the past. In that, Nioh has taught us a lot of valuable lessons and has definitely helped open up an entirely new audience for us. “Nioh’s success, as well as the recent western success of titles like Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom and Dead or Alive, is proof that if we follow the right approach and listen to the needs of the players they will embrace our titles and help our company grow further.”

Nioh has taught Koei Tecmo “a lot of valuable lessons,” president Koinuma said

EXCLUSIVE: Disgaea 5 Complete coming to Switch in May By Katharine Byrne DISGAEA 5 COMPLETE will launch on the Nintendo Switch on May 26th 2017, MCV can reveal. The Switch port of the PS4 title, Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance, was originally slated for Spring 2017, but NIS America has now confirmed to MCV that the game will be arriving in May. “Both versions are the same,” NIS America senior associate producer Alan Costa told MCV. “However the Switch version features all the DLC from the PS4 version. We will

Disgaea 5 for Switch will be “the same” as the PS4 version, Costa said

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definitely be emphasising that all DLC can be found on the Switch version as well as highlighting that the game can be played at home or on the go.” The bundled DLC includes bonus playable characters as well as new scenarios. “This adds many more hours of content and strategy to the base game as well as allowing series’ fans to enjoy their favorites from past games,” Costa said. He added: “We’re confident that fans will be excited to play the complete version of this legendary SRPG series.”


15/02/2017 17:01


Bits and Pixels wants Overwatch merch in supermarkets By Alex Calvin NEW video games-focused licensing agency Bits and Pixels says it is aiming to get Overwatchlicensed goods into supermarkets as well as specialist retail. The new agency, set up by Konami veterans Sandra Arcan and Su-Yina Farmer, says this is possible due to the PEGI 12 age rating of Blizzard’s team shooter, as well as its colourful and appealing art style. Bits and Pixels launched last year, with the new firm landing Blizzard, for Overwatch, as its first client. “What’s quite unique about Overwatch is that you can cover the whole spectrum of the core gamer that’s competing and getting into eSports, who will spend a lot of money on collectibles and will want everything that’s going, but then we are doing a bit of a two-tier programme for Overwatch because it’s 12-rated,” Arcan told MCV.

“So 12 right through to 35 is the age range we want to provide some cool stuff for. For younger [gamers], we’re talking to licensees that operate within the mass market with the mainstream retailers – companies that don’t typically look at games brands because they’re too busy with [franchises like] Marvel. We are getting quite far down the line with these sorts of companies that will be getting Overwatch goods into supermarkets, as well as GAME.” The firm also says that one of the biggest trends in the games licensing space right now is getting the likes of Mattel and Hasbro to make a range of toys based on a game IP. “There have been ones for Halo and a great many franchises,” Arcan said. “There’s going to be more brands going for a Master Toy license, like getting Mattel or Hasbro to do a full toy range, rather than just doing figurines or collectibles.”

Bits and Pixels is talking to licensees working for the mass market, Arcan said

EVENTS CALENDAR FEBRUARY 2017 ......................................................................... THE PC GAMER WEEKENDER Olympia London, London Saturday, February 18th Sunday, February 19th ■ A developer stage, tabletop gaming sessions, PC workshops, early access to the latest games, speakers and competitive gaming tournaments will all be part of the 2017 edition of the PC Gamer Weekender. ■ Tickets for the PC-focused event start at £9.99. GDC 2017 Moscone Center, San Francisco Monday, February 27th Friday, March 3rd ■ San Francisco’s Moscone Center will host the Game Developers Conference again this year. ■ This 31st edition of the conference will see developers from all around the world gather to discuss the key trends of the dev industry. ■ The usual Choice Awards and


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Independent Games Festival will be part of the festivities again in 2017.

MARCH 2017 ......................................................................... MCV AWARDS 2017 The Brewery, London Thursday, March 9th ■ The MCV Awards, now in their 15th successful year, are returning for 2017 to recognise the best and brightest the UK games industry has to offer in publishing, retail, distribution, marketing, PR, events and media. ■ This year’s ceremony will take place at The Brewery and you can book table online. ■ The 21 main categories are judged by a panel of members of the games industry while Store Manager, Unsung Hero and Person of the Year are selected by the MCV team. ■ For more information on the ceremony and the 2017 finalists, simply head to the event’s website: www.mcvawards.com



US video game software sales exceeded $24.5bn in 2016


Forza Horizon 3 has sold over 2.5m units, with the Forza franchise as a whole making over $1bn


Overwatch has become the fastest Blizzard franchise to reach 25m players worldwide


Grand Theft Auto V has shipped more than 75m copies since launch, Take-Two has revealed


DingIt TV has launched Level Up Media and plans to launch two new gaming sites by the end of 2017 Titanfall 2 Controller - PDP Design and manufacture the Officially Licenced Titanfall 2 Controller for Xbox ONE europesales@pdp.com


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Resident Evil claims second No.1 in Japan CAPCOM’S new Resident Evil title is once again No.1 in Japan according to new market data from Famitsu. The game saw an 82 per cent decline in sales in its second week on shelves, with 42,165 units shifted. The horror title still charted ahead of Pokémon Sun and Moon, which sold a combined 20,902 units. That’s a ten per cent dip in sales week-on-week. Yo-Kai Watch 3: Sukiyaki charted at No.3, with 13,223 copies sold. Despite an 18.5 per cent sales decline, the ghostcatching title rose three places in the ranks last week. Last week’s No.3, Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World, dropped one place to No.4 with sales dipping 40 per cent. There were two new games in the charts last week. Bandai Namco’s Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 - Road to Boruto debuted at No.7, while No.8 was taken by the boxed version of BoxBoy Hakozume. The best-selling hardware of last week was PlayStation 4, with 27,267 machines shifted, while Nintendo’s New 3DS LL came in second place with 22,472 consoles moved.

Resident Evil VII: Biohazard remained at No.1 for its second week on shelves



Resident Evil VII: Biohazard saw an 82 per cent decline in sales in its second week on shelves, with 42,165 units shifted.

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RESIDENT EVIL VII: BIOHAZARD (CAPCOM) PS4 42,165 UNITS Title Units Pocket Monster Sun/Moon (Pokémon) 3DS 20,902 Yo-Kai Watch 3: Sukiyaki (Level 5) 3DS 13,223 Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World (Nintendo) 3DS 11,964 Super Mario Maker (Nintendo) 3DS 11,910 Gravity Rush 2 (Sony) PS4 8,952 Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (Bandai Namco) PS4 NEW 8,547 BoxBoy! Hakozume Box (Nintendo) 3DS NEW 6,010 Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (Square Enix) PS4 5,935 Animal Crossing: New Leaf - Welcome Amiibo (Nintendo) 3DS 5,047

Humble Freedom Bundle raises over $3.9m in two days US digital storefront Humble Bundle’s new Freedom bundle, which protests legislation enacted by US president Donald Trump, has raised $3.9m (£3.14m) after just two days on sale. The deal launched on Monday, and all proceeds from what is arguably the biggest Humble Bundle to date will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union, the International Rescue Committee and Doctors Without Borders. Consumers need to pay a minimum of $30 (£24) in order to purchase the bundle, and Humble will match the first $300,000.

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“We chose these three organizations because of the inspiring work they do in providing humanitarian assistance to refugees and displaced people as well as in defence of justice, human rights, and civil rights,” Humble said in a statement. The deal includes a number of big indie games, including Super Meat Boy, The Witness, Stardew Valley, Invisible Inc and Guacamelee, as well as eBooks and comics such as the first volume of cult comic series The Boys. More games will be added to the deal over the next week.


“The Humble Freedom Bundle was a joint idea from our employees and a number of game developers, including Double Fine and Wolfire Games,” Humble founder Jeffrey Rosen told Polygon. “As we started to contact game developers about the idea, it was clear that this bundle was very important to many people and something that needed to happen. We humbly united lots of people with similar feelings. We decided to donate $300,000 of our own funds when we saw the magnitude of games that developers were donating.”


15/02/2017 16:02


Dead Good bolsters international PR Milewski joins from Techland n Future’s Daniella Lucas joins OXM n Fandom UK adds UK gaming editor DEAD GOOD MEDIA | UK PR and creative agency Dead Good Media has expanded its international PR team with the appointment of PAUL MILEWSKI as media consultant. Previously international PR and marketing manager at Techland, Paul will be providing consultancy across Dead Good’s retained client and short-term project roster, and will be primarily based in Poland. Dead Good director and owner STU TAYLOR commented: “Having worked with Paul previously on a client/agency basis for a couple of years, it’s great to welcome him fully into the Dead Good fold during what is set to be one of our

busiest periods since we set up half a decade ago.” Milewski added: “I always admired just how genuine and realistic Dead Good Media were in its approach as an agency. No unnecessary smoke and mirrors, just facts, dedication and a touch of fantastic creativity when needed. So it’s a great feeling to be able join them on their side of the fence and apply the same approach on a vast variety of awesome projects and titles.”

for commissioning the magazine’s reviews and features. Previously, she was editor of Future’s three kids magazines: Minecraft Mayhem, Your Gaming Heroes and Your Comic Heroes. She has also written for PC Gamer, GamesMaster and GamesRadar among others. She commented: “I’m excited to be joining such a wonderful team and can’t wait to get stuck in with taking on OXM’s reviews and features going forward. Team OXM is a talented bunch. I’m particularly happy to be working alongside editor Matt Gilman again - one of the best in the industry.”

FUTURE PUBLISHING | Future has appointed DANIELLA LUCAS as deputy editor for Official Xbox Magazine. Reporting to MATT GILMAN, she will be responsible

FANDOM | The entertainment fan site has appointed SAM LOVERIDGE

as UK gaming editor. For the past year, she has been working as gaming editor for Digital Spy, and also spent 18 months as games editor for Trusted Reviews. DORTH RAPHAELY, SVP of content at Fandom stated: “Games are core to what Fandom is. And, as we continue to grow the dedicated UK edition of Fandom, it was critical that we find the right person to be our first games editor and help shape this important vertical. That’s Sam; we’re thrilled to have her as part of the team. “Her background, expertise, and passion will provide UK gaming fans with the authentic and compelling content that they crave, on a daily basis.”

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

©2016 Mimoco, Inc. All rights reserved.


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DEVELOPER Creative Assembly PUBLISHER Microsoft DISTRIBUTOR Exertis PLATFORM(S) Xbox One, PC PRICE £44.99 RELEASE DATE February 21st




TALKING to MCV last week, Creative Assembly’s creative director Alistair Hope said Halo Wars 2 was “a great opportunity to make a RTS for everyone.” The title is also a good opportunity for players who don’t know the Halo universe, he added: “The story takes place 28 years after the events of the first game and the main character doesn’t know how much about the Halo universe either. You go on this journey of discovery with him and learn about Halo hand-in-hand.” To ensure the title will gather a wide range of players, Creative Assembly has implemented a wealth of different multiplayer modes (Skirmish, Stronghold, Deathmatch, Blitz, Domination), all sitting alongside a more traditional main campaign.

THOUGH RTS games are primarily PC titles, Microsoft has proven with Halo Wars that the genre can work on consoles. This sequel is no different. Justin MahboubianJones from Trusted Reviews even thinks this new entry could puzzle PC gamers: “With Halo Wars 2, Microsoft is taking another stab at pushing the genre out on console. [...] Halo Wars 2 is very much a console-first product. From base building, to unit selection, to game modes, this title is set up to make Xbox One users as comfortable as possible. PC tacticians may find the on-rails experience frustrating.” Wes Fenlon from PC Gamer though noted that Halo Wars 2 is “fast, flashy, and filled with fun unit abilities to juggle and use at the right moments.”

2009’S Halo Wars sold 1m units worldwide in just over a month, becoming the fastest-selling console RTS game at the time. Creative Assembly’s expectations for this sequel are thus quite high: “This sequel’s been a long time coming,” creative director Alistair Hope told MCV. “Fans have really wanted it and the reception so far has been tremendous.” Sales could also be boosted by the Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition (£64.99), releasing a few days before the official lanch, on February 17th. It includes the Season Pass, as well as the Definitive Edition of 2009’s Halo Wars. There’s also an Xbox One Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition Bundle, which will set consumers back £299 and is exclusive to GAME in the UK.




DEVELOPER: Brace Yourself Games PUBLISHER: Brace Yourself Games PLATFORM(S): Xbox One PRICE: £11..99 RELEASE DATE: Out now

DEVELOPER: Lamplight Studios PUBLISHER: Rising Star Games PLATFORM(S): PS4, Xbox One PRICE: £8.99 RELEASE DATE: February 24th

DEVELOPER: Mixed Bag PUBLISHER: Mixed Bag PLATFORM(S): PS4, XO, Wii U, Vita, PC PRICE: £11.99 RELEASE DATE: February 23rd

ROGUELIKE rhythm title Crypt of the NecroDancer is finally out on Xbox One, with an exclusive remix of Danny Baranowsky’s soundtrack made by Super Hexagon composer Chipzel. Having launched on PS4, Vita, PC and iOS between April 2015 and June 2016, Brace Yourself’s debut game has been a huge hit. A DLC prequel, Amplified, just launched on Steam Early Access.

2D puzzle-platformer A Pixel Story will be landing on consoles at the end of February, having released on PC in early 2015. Lamplight Studios’ title explores the evolution of video games as players go on an adventure to defeat The System, an ‘evil OS’. To help gamers to do so, there’s a Magical Teleportation Hat involved, but also numerous puzzles accross six zones.

AFTER spending four years in development, Forma.8 is finally releasing on PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, Vita and PC. In this game developed by Italian studio Mixed Bag, you take control of a small exporation probe on an alien planet with the mission to find a ‘powerful energy source’. Forma.8’s gameplay is described by its creators as a “classic metroidvania formula.”

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ACCORDING to Bandai Namco, Dragon Ball: Fusions is “an actionRPG game that combines fighting, customisation, and collecting elements to bring the Dragon Ball world to life. The game features a huge roster of character appearances stretching across the Dragon Ball anime series and movies.”

HAVING already released in Japan and the US, Dragon Ball Fusions gathered a 69 score on Metacritic. Destructoid’s Peter Glagowski said the title is “basically for the fans only,” noting a lot of downsides: “The combat can be fun in spurts, but trying to power through this is an exercise in frustration. Taking a break will just cause you to become lost, so there doesn’t seem to be any happy medium to finishing the story mode.” On the other hand, Nintendo Life’s Matt Furtado stated that “Dragon Ball has finally come of age on consoles.” He wrote: “Dragon Ball Fusions fuses fan service with an enjoyable story and battle system to create a fresh Dragon Ball video game experience, with the only blot being the sometimes tedious energy acquisition process.”

DRAGON BALL: FUSIONS had the franchise’s second best opening when it launched back in August 2016 in Japan, behind 2013’s Dragon Ball Heroes: Ultimate Mission. It sold 81,548 copies during its first week, according to data from Famitsu, and debuted in the charts at No.2. The game remained popular throughout its first month, selling 130,590 units and charting at No.3 in the monthly charts. Though Fusions likely won’t be as popular in the UK, it will certainly appeal to the franchise’s dedicated fans. The title could also benefit from the fact the release schedule is not too busy this week. The latest game in the franchise to release on 3DS exclusively was 2015’s Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden, and it didn’t make it to the UK weekly or monthly Top 40.

PUBLISHER Bandai Namco DISTRIBUTOR Advantage Distribution PLATFORM(S) 3DS PRICE £29.99 RELEASE DATE February 17th


It’ll be a calm couple of weeks, before Horizon: Zero Dawn hits shelves on March 1st and then the Switch takes retail by storm FORMAT







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February 17th Dragon Ball Fusions February 21st Halo Wars 2 February 24th Berserk and the Band of the Hawk Sublevel Zero - Redux



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Just Dance 2017


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February 28th Torment: Tides of Numenera March 1st Horizon Zero Dawn March 3rd


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Title Grand Theft Auto V Nioh Resident Evil VII: Biohazard FIFA 17 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Battlefield 1 Rocket League Hitman: The Complete First Season Overwatch Watch Dogs 2 Minecraft Xbox Edition Forza Horizon 3 WWE 2K17 Mafia III LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition Tom Clancy’s The Division Pokémon Sun Final Fantasy XV LEGO Marvel Avengers Titanfall 2 Steep Minecraft: PlayStation Edition Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World Doom Fallout 4 Pokémon Moon Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection LEGO Jurassic World Dishonored 2 Just Dance 2017 Super Mario Maker No Man’s Sky NBA 2K17 Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege The Last Guardian LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Star Wars Battlefront Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Mario Kart 7



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

Publisher Rockstar Sony Capcom EA Activision EA 505 Games Square Enix Blizzard Ubisoft Microsoft Microsoft 2K Games 2K Games Warner Bros Bethesda Ubisoft Nintendo Square Enix Warner Bros EA Ubisoft Sony Nintendo Bethesda Bethesda Nintendo Ubisoft Warner Bros Bethesda Ubisoft Nintendo Sony 2K Games Ubisoft Sony Warner Bros EA Sony Nintendo

ANOTHER week, another No.1 for Grand Theft Auto V. Rockstar’s hit was back at the top of the charts last week, with a slight one per cent increase in sales. It’s the third time the title has made it to No.1 this year and the twelfth time since its launch in 2013. GTA V is now part of the happy few who have claimed at least 12 No.1s in the UK Top 40. This restricted club also includes Who Wants to Be A Millionnaire (18 top spots), 2008’s Wii Fit (16 No.1s), 2010’s Zumba Fitness (13 No.1s) and EA’s FIFA 14 (12 No.1s). Meanwhile, Sony’s Nioh, which was the only new title in last week’s charts, debuted at No.2. Although Nioh sold fewer copies than Grand Theft Auto V, the Team Ninja-developed title generated more revenue due to its higher price point, and is thus No.1 in the Top 40 revenue chart. Former No.1 Resident Evil VII: Biohazard fell to No.3 last week, with sales for Capcom’s title decreasing 45 per cent week-on-week. The rest of the Top Ten is made of usual suspects, though it should be noted that Square Enix’s Hitman: The Complete First Season, the big release from the previous week, has fallen to No.8 with sales decreasing 50 per cent. THE WINNERS ARE... Amongst the good sellers of last week, we could count on

Forza Horizon 3, which performed very well. Microsoft’s racing game charted at No.12, gaining 14 places, with sales being up 48 per cent. This is likely due to the Playseat Car Pack DLC which launched on February 7th and could have attracted new players to the game. LEGO games also had a pretty good week, starting with LEGO Marvel Avengers, which rose eight places to No.20, with sales increasing 21 per cent. LEGO Jurassic World also gained 11 spots, landing at No.29, thanks to sales raising 27 per cent. Lastly, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham re-entered the charts. Sales for these Warner Bros-published titles have likely been boosted by the release of The Batman LEGO Movie in theatres last week. Another good performer in last week’s charts was No Man’s Sky, which surprisingly re-entered the charts at No.33. The title dropped in price at many major retailers, which could explain this impressive 86 per cent rise in sales. STEAM POWERED Meanwhile, Steam charts haven’t changed much, with Funcom’s Conan Exiles still topping the listings. Rainbow Six: Siege’s Year 2 Pass debuted at No.5, having released on February 7th. The original game also charted at No.2, having re-entered the charts the week before.

GTA V claimed its twelfth No.1 since launch last week

Source: UKIE/GfK Entertainment, Period: Week ending February 11th February 17th 2017

12 13 MCV908 Weekly Charts_V6.indd 1



15/02/2017 16:05


Market Data The market was slightly down last week due to the lack of new releases: sales were down six per cent in units and nine per cent in revenue


£10m £15m

£30m £5m

£11.1m 339,467 units £6.4m 233,034 units

Week Ending January 21st

Week Ending January 28th

£7.8m 265,862 units

£7.1m 249,367 units

Week Ending February 4th

Week Ending February 11th


01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09

LW 05 07 08 NEW 02 10 03 04






Title Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege Counter-Strike: Global Offensive H1Z1 King of the Kill Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege - Year 2 Pass Ark: Survival Evolved Grand Theft Auto V For Honor (P) Resident Evil VII: Biohazard

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Publisher Ubisoft Valve Daybreak Game Company Ubisoft Studio Wildcard Rockstar Ubisoft Capcom



Title Horizon Zero Dawn Exclusive Launch Edition (PS4) Mass Effect Andromeda (PS4) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Special Edition (Switch) Persona 5 “Take Your Heart” Collector’s Edition (PS4) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) South Park The Fractured But Whole - Inc Stick of Truth (PS4) Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Inc The Peruvian Connection (PS4) Mass Effect Andromeda (XO) Nintendo Switch Neon Red - Neon Blue

Publisher Sony EA Nintendo Deep Silver Nintendo Ubisoft Ubisoft EA Nintendo

Source: Steam, Period: Week ending February 12th


12 13 MCV908 Weekly Charts_V6.indd 2


February 17th 2017

15/02/2017 16:05






TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW 02 03 04 06 RE 05 10 07 RE


Title Scribblenauts Unlimited Scribblenauts Remix The Chase The Sims 3 Tipping Point Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location Football Manager Mobile 2017 Geometry Dash Hitman Sniper

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Publisher Warner Bros Warner Bros Barnstorm Games EA Barnstorm Games Scott Cawthon Sega RobTop Games Square Enix

LW 02 03 RE 07 04 05 08 06 09

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: January 30th - February 5th


Title Minecraft: Pocket Edition Football Manager Mobile 2017 Tank Hero Plague Inc. Heads Up! The Chase Monopoly Game Bloons TD 5 Geometry Dash

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: January 30th - February 5th





TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW 05 04 03 02 08 06 RE 09 10


Title Game of War - Fire Age Roblox Clash of Clans Candy Crush Soda Saga Mobile Strike Gardenscapes - New Acres Gummy Drop! Zynga Poker - Texas Holdem: Vegas Casino Card Game Hay Day

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Publisher Machine Zone Roblox Corporation Supercell Machine Zone Epic War Playrix Big Fish Games Zynga Supercell

LW 03 06 02 05 07 09 08 07 RE

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: January 30th - February 5th


Title Candy Crush Saga Mobile Strike Clash Royale Game of War - Fire Age Clash of Clans Candy Crush Soda Saga Pokémon GO Episode - Choose Your Story + Pretty Little Liars Zynga Poker - Texas Holdem: Vegas Casino Card Game




LW 05 03 NEW 01 10 07 08 NEW RE



Title Bubble Witch 3 Saga Word Cookies! Spiral Paper.io WWE: Champions - Free Puzzle RPG 8 Ball Pool Roblox The LEGO Batman Movie Game Real City Car Driving Sim 2017

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Publisher King BitMango Ketchapp Voodoo Scopely Miniclip.com Roblox Corporation Warner Bros Musa Candir

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: January 30th - February 5th February 17th 2017

14 15 MCV908 Mobile Charts / COTW_V6.indd 1

Publisher King Epic War Supercell Machine Zone Supercell King Niantic Episode Interactive Zynga

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: Period: January 30th - February 5th


TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Publisher Mojang Sega Clapfoot Ndemic Creations Warner Bros Barnstorm Games EA Ninja Kiwi RobTop Games

LW 02 06 03 RE RE 04 10 08 05



Title 8 Ball Pool Word Cookies! Pokémon Duel Paper.io Real City Car Driving Sim 2017 Design Home Taps to Riches WWE: Champions - Free Puzzle RPG Golf Clash

Publisher Miniclip.com BitMango The Pokémon Company Voodoo Musa Candir Crowdstar Game Circus Scopely Playdemic

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: January 30th - February 5th 14


15/02/2017 16:38


MOBILE ANALYSIS: NINTENDO’S STRATEGY NINTENDO president Tatsumi Kimishima has given some insight into the company’s mobile business. “At this point Nintendo has launched three mobile titles, Miitomo, Super Mario Run, and Fire Emblem Heroes,” Kimishima said in an extensive interview with Time. “With Miitomo, we really wanted to see how we could with this first foray into the mobile market communicate with the public. More than looking at profit we were wondering if we could get people interested in Nintendo characters on their mobile devices. And the result is that we think we’ve seen a commensurate expansion in that interest. “We haven’t reached 20m downloads yet, but I think we’re around 18m downloads for Miitomo, which shows how many customers we’re reaching. With regard to Super Mario Run, we’ve

Nintendo is ‘gaining confidence’ in the mobile business, Kimishima said

had 78m downloads. With regards to how many people have paid money, we’re hoping for more than ten per cent, and while we haven’t yet reached ten per cent, at this point we’re somewhere north of halfway there.” Kimishima also gave some insight into how the revenue from Super Mario Run is being distributed.

“However, if you analyse this, it’s pretty interesting. The game is being distributed in more than 150 countries, but it’s the top 20 countries that account for more than 90 per cent of the total revenue. If we look further at the people who are paying for the game within those 20 countries, we’re not at ten per cent, but the

number is rising. So what is it that I’m trying to say? If we look at the countries where the game is on sale, how many people are paying for it, the way the game is being monetised, and we look at how customers are reacting to a onetime payment option, I think we can see that this a viable way to do business. I would also add that this is a new way of monetisation and so not yet popular. “Lastly, Fire Emblem Heroes is a free-to-play style game in which you can purchase items. Less than a half-day after its release, it had been downloaded over a million times, and we’re seeing revenue today at $5m. “The point I’m making is that we’re experimenting with different types of monetisation. As a result of these experiments with monetisation styles, we’re gaining what you might call confidence in our mobile business efforts.”

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK: Halo Wars 2 EIGHT years after Halo Wars, a sequel is finally hitting shelves. This comes courtesy of strategy specialists and Total War makers Creative Assembly. “We feel Halo Wars 2 appeals to many gamers. The first Halo Wars was released in 2009 and since then, it has been one of the most requested sequels by fans,” product manager Mike Rapson tells MCV. “There is also a lack of real time strategy games on console and we’ve been fortunate enough to work with Creative Assembly, a studio with an unmatched pedigree in this genre, so we know core fans will love this game.” To attract new players and core fans alike, Microsoft has focused


14 15 MCV908 Mobile Charts / COTW_V6.indd 2

on video assets over the last eight months, Rapson continues: “We know most of our fans consume content online and the variety of videos and trailers have helped us keep fans engaged until next week’s launch. These assets include introducing the game’s new enemy Atriox, as well as new cinematic and live action trailers, released last week. The live action component is a different approach to how we have marketed previous Halo games and we believe they inspire the inner strategist in gamers and appeal to broader strategy fans.” Microsoft also made sure to focus on PC players: “We knew it would be important to target PC gamers as the real time strategy

We feel Halo Wars 2 appeals to many gamers. Mike Rapson, Microsoft


FORMAT: XO, PC RELEASED: February 21st PUBLISHER: Microsoft DISTRIBUTOR: Exertis CONTACT: 01279 822 822

genre is a staple on the platform. We took the opportunity to have a presence at this weekend’s PC Gamer Weekender where we will have two on-stage presentations and livestreams. In terms of additional marketing support, we will extensively leverage social media, digital display and out of home advertising, as well as VOD and targeted TV with Sky AdSmart.”

February 17th 2017

15/02/2017 16:38


Sponsored by


gaming merchandise uk

MARGIN MAKERS THIS WEEK: HORIZON ZERO DAWN Sony has promised loads of Horizon: Zero Dawn tie-in products. As we get closer to launch, Marie Dealessandri takes a look at the merch releasing alongside the PS4-exclusive title WITH its stunning setting, characters and mechanised robot creatures, Horizon Zero Dawn is a perfect fit for tie-in items - and Sony made no mistake about it, planning to launch a wide range of merchandise alongside the Guerrilla-developed title. “From the moment the game was first announced back at E3 2015, we were inundated with requests from enthusiastic partners, eager to join our licensing program,” Sony’s senior business development manager for licensing and merchandise David Evans told MCV last week. Sony’ has already announced loads of licensing partners for Horizon Zero Dawn, such as Titan, Future Press, Project

Triforce, Cook and Becker, Iron Gut, GB Eye, Bioworld Europe, Gaya and Park Agencies, with more to come, Evans adds: “We are also in discussion with a number of other partners to further grow the licensing program, and will be developing a selection of additional items to expand the fascinating Horizon: Zero Dawn universe.” Horizon Zero Dawn launches on March 1st as a PS4-exclusive title. The game will have a limited edition and a PS4 Slim bundle, both exclusive to GAME in the UK. There’s also a collector’s edition, which comes with a 23cm statue of protagonist Aloy, a Steelbook case, an artbook, in-game DLC and a PS4 theme.


We were inundated with licensing requests. David Evans, Sony

THE Thunderjaw robot is at the centre of Horizon Zero Dawn’s merchandise line-up, as this T-shirt can testify. It’s so badass it’s almost stealing Aloy’s thunder. SRP: £17.99 Manufacturer: Bioworld Europe Distributor: Bioworld Europe Contact: info@bioworldeurope.com

COLLECTOR’S EDITION GUIDE THIS beautiful guide provides everything you need to know to complete Horizon Zero Dawn, including tips on the game’s systems and hunting techniques, details on the main missions and side quests, guidelines to master the combat, and an in-depth look at the story. It also contains a world map poster.


SRP: £27.99 Manufacturer: Future Press Distributor: Future Press Contact: sales@future-press.com

THE Art of Horizon Zero Dawn includes over 300 images, sketches and concept art from the highly-anticipated Guerrilla-developed title, as well as commentary from the artists and creators. SRP: £29.99 Manufacturer: Titan Books Distributor: Titan Books Contact: sales@titanemail.com

February 17th 2017

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15/02/2017 17:16


HORIZON ZERO DAWN WALLET - ALOY THIS faux-leather wallet is inspired by Aloy’s outfit in Horizon Zero Dawn. It has separate bill and coin compartments and room for several cards. SRP: £17 Manufacturer: Gaya Distributor: Gaming Merchandise UK Contact: hello@ gamingmerchandiseuk.com

THE THUNDERJAW COLLECTION THIS collection highlights one of the most impressive mechanised creatures featured in Horizon Zero Dawn: the Thunderjaw. The key item in this very nice box is a Thunderjaw statue, standing almost 40 cm tall and made of over 200 assembled parts. The Thunderjaw Collection also features a Horizon Zero Dawn world map, Aloy’s ‘Focus’ earpiece (which she uses to investigate her surroundings) and two exclusive lithographs. SRP: $199.99 (£160) Manufacturer: TriForce Development Team Distributor: Project TriForce Contact: help@projecttriforce.com

ALOY MUG GB EYE has created a Horizon Zero Dawn mug collection, including the one below, which features Aloy and her bow, in a beautiful aquarelle-meets-geometry art style. SRP: £7.99 Manufacturer: GB Eye Distributor: GB Eye Contact: uksales@gbeye.com

ALOY ZIP-UP HOODIE THIS hoodie has taken a minimalist approach at Aloy’s outfit, using the same colour scheme and adding details such as decorative embroidery on the pockets and beads attached to the hood straps. SRP: £59.53 Manufacturer: Gaya Distributor: Gaming Merchandise UK Contact: hello@gamingmerchandiseuk.com


16 17 MCV908 Margin Makers_V6.indd 2


February 17th 2017

15/02/2017 17:16


E3 welcomes 15,000 gamers E3 is opening its doors to the everyone and anyone, well those who can pay anyway. Seth Barton talks to Rich Taylor at the ESA about the changes and canvasses UK opinion too


ust over 50,000 people attended E3 last year. Now the ESA, the US video game trade body which runs E3, has decided to add 15,000 members of the public into the mix. It’s a huge change of direction for the long-running, trade-only show. The industry as a whole has tried to be more open to consumers for years, so this move is in step with prevailing thinking, though it comes rather late to the party. Prices aren’t cheap either, a thousand early-bird passes sold out in days at $149 (£119), with the remaining ‘Expo Passes’ costing $249 (£200) each. At those prices, we’re not going to see those on the fringes of the industry paying for something they can get for free with a little effort. That said, we may see E3 tighten up on industry-accredited applications, though only time will tell. “It’s a changing industry and E3 has always evolved to meet industry needs and anticipate where we’re heading together — as an event, as an industry, and as fans,” Rich Taylor, senior VP of communications at the ESA February 17th 2017

18 19 MCV908 E3_V6.indd 1

tells MCV. “The decision to open our doors to 15,000 fans was a strategic decision. The vision and leadership of our members made this possible. We have a model that allows the business of the industry to continue for our business and media attendees and provides an opportunity for video games’ biggest fans to experience the latest in innovative, immersive entertainment.” We ask Taylor whether E3 is still a trade show or now a consumer show; but he doesn’t see it in such binary terms: “It can be both. The model we developed provides a great opportunity for gamers to bring their excitement and energy while also providing clear and defined opportunities for media and the industry community to work on the business of video games.” Unlike Gamescom, E3 isn’t going to be divided into trade-only and public days, with everyone thrown in together instead. “There are two passes available for purchase,” says Taylor. “There is a business pass, which will provide business attendees with access to

ATTENDEE OPINION We rounded up a bunch of industry professionals who pound the carpets of E3 every year and asked them what they thought of E3’s switch in direction. Matthew DiPietro, SVP marketing, Twitch There are some definite benefits to this move. Outside of TwitchCon, Southern California doesn’t have a major video game-centric conference that caters to both the industry and the public, so it’s the perfect location for a broader gaming event. What we are also seeing is that content creators are now playing a greater role in terms of influencing purchasing decisions. By E3 opening its gates a little wider, it helps to ensure more of those content creators can be part of the experience, which will ultimately help the brands who are involved. Debbie Bestwick, CEO, Team17 In today’s world, we message and market direct to gaming fans and we hugely welcome this new E3 approach, building and engaging with gaming communities is one of the key pillars of marketing today. The move is long overdue as we have all seen the tremendous success that is Gamescom in Europe. What remains to be seen and what I believe is going to be the biggest challenge for E3 is how to make sure trade will be able to carry on their usual business without detracting from consumer’s enjoyment and vice versa. We are eager to see how E3 evolves in 2017.



15/02/2017 17:34

E3 FEATURES Ben Le Rougetel, head of PR, Indigo Pearl Not a wholly unexpected decision by the ESA, given the success of Gamescom’s dual approach and the recent move by some publishers to host public facing events during E3. My biggest concern – with no separate consumer and business halls and no specific media-only day it will make handling appointments and demos even more chaotic. Glad I won’t be working a reception desk. Garry Williams, CEO, Sold Out Not having a single trade day is problematic, many people struggled to get from meeting to meeting when the 5,000 ‘new retail people’ were added, now it makes moving around halls and booths for meetings almost impossible – meetings become more of an offsite option. Public events require greater security around the stands, more protection of demo kit and code and I wonder if the top six publishers will carry the attention and news needed to justify the public’s rather high entrance fee once the trade go offsite. Laura Skelly, PR manager, Capcom I think it’s great E3 isn’t sticking with the same formula as previous years. As publishers attending the event it’s an exciting time to show off your latest games to trade and media but at the same time it’s important to have consumers get excited about what you have coming up and give them the opportunity to access content earlier than they have done previously. It will be interesting to see how publishers react to this and perhaps tailor E3 content more than they have done previously. Not looking forward to the Starbucks queue though. a VIP Business Lounge, preferred entry to the convention center, and other amenities. That pass is likely most appealing to lawyers, analysts, executives, advertisers, communications specialists who want to network and conduct the business of the industry.” He continues: “The fans will have a dedicated entrance to the show floors. In addition, we’ll have a series of discussions and panels at LA Live so fans can hear directly — and interact with — leading video game figures. We’ll have more information on that soon.” From the sounds of that, the average industry attendee is going to be the one suffering, without the business lounge to retreat to, and with no dedicated entrance, they will be left with the same E3 as before, but with more people clogging the showfloor. We wonder if the show will be made more spacious to accompany the additional numbers, but Taylor won’t be drawn on how the show will change exactly: “Every year our exhibitors impress the world with their innovation and creativity. With E3 opening to 15,000 gamers, www.mcvuk.com 

18 19 MCV908 E3_V6.indd 2

Stefano Petrullo, founder, Renaissance PR

we anticipate that energy and excitement to be even higher for the incredibly innovative games unveiled this year.“

I have been at almost every single E3 since 1995 and I believe the change of the show to accommodate consumers is a good move: the real challenge for the organisers and companies now is to create compelling gamer content without jeopardising media and business effectiveness. Also, it’s worth noting E3 represents not only the convention centre but the whole week in L.A of big announcements, press conferences and networking.

PUBLIC LIABILITY With attendee numbers falling from 2015 to 2016 and EA choosing to host its own event across the road for both industry and the public alike, it does appear that the ESA is responding to recent events. Did Taylor think the success of public shows, such as Comic Con and PAX, were a factor in E3 opening up? “Comic-Con and PAX are great events. We each have a role and we’re supportive of those shows. However, E3 has a reputation around the world as the place where video game hardware and software launches happen. Last year, E3 generated more than 65bn media impressions around the globe. That doesn’t happen accidentally and it’s a testament to E3’s strength, its connection to the fans, and the event’s position in the industry,” he replies. Taylor isn’t keen to talk specifics about 2018 at this point,

It’s a changing industry and E3 has always evolved to meet industry needs. Rich Taylor, ESA


saying that they’ll see how 2017 goes first. “My ambition for E3 is to ensure that it maintains its place as the world-leading video game event. A great show where the world turns its eyes to E3 to see the latest announcements in video game hardware and software.” It’s a big ambition. The lines between the industry and the public are becoming increasingly blurred and more-and-more promotional activity is moving online to streamed events. Still, if E3 can sell its $3.63m dollars of tickets then it’ll probably be suitably motivated to find a way to keep everyone happy. Additional reporting: Alex Calvin February 17th 2017

15/02/2017 17:34


Take-Two’s giant leap into mobile After years of skepticism about the mobile market, Take-Two finally entered the sector with the purchase of Social Point. Alex Calvin speaks to CEO Strauss Zelnick about this move, a lack of new IP in 2017 and what went wrong for many publishers in Q4


etter than expected” has become an accidental catch phrase for TakeTwo when it reports its financials. Despite being behind the company responsible for the unstoppable Grand Theft Auto V, it continues to be surprised by just how well that title has done. The base game has shipped 75m units – and sold 6m in the UK – while Grand Theft Auto Online has driven Take-Two’s digital revenue, which formed 20 per cent of the firm’s total revenue for fiscal Q3. Though CEO Strauss Zelnick had high hopes for the game at launch, he wasn’t bullish enough to make specific sales projections. “When we launch a product what we are focused on is whether it will delight consumers and how good it is,” CEO Strauss Zelnick tells MCV. “We certainly knew that it was a phenomenal title and we had high hopes. But we tend not to have specific expectations because we really are of the view that if you put out something phenomenal people are going to show up to it. That’s been true over and over again for this company. In the case of GTA Online, we were really excited about the opportunity to have a companion title and multiplayer options, and this ability to have a world that could grow and be updated. But we didn’t have specific expectations about how it would perform economically.” ONE GIANT LEAP Though Grand Theft Auto V continues to be a success for Take-Two, it’s not the biggest news for the company’s last quarter. After years of public skepticism from Zelnick about the mobile market and its low hit ratio, TakeTwo made a sizeable investment in February 17th 2017

20 21 MCV908 Take Two_V4.indd 1

the sector this month with the $250m acquisition of Spanish developer Social Point, following in the footsteps of Activision Blizzard, Tencent and EA with their respective purchases of mobile companies King, Supercell and Chillingo. So what changed in Take-Two’s thinking on mobile? “The key thing is that we were looking for a way to participate in the fast-growing $40bn mobile free-to-play market,” Zelnick says. “We were looking for an enterprise that has a track record of creating a multiplicity of hits – which is very unusual in this space – where they own their IP – also unusual – where they generate meaningful revenue and meaningful cashflow right now – somewhat unusual – and where they’d be a great cultural fit with us. “We found all of those things in Social Point. That’s who we’ve been looking for. We also like that Social Point focuses on mid-core titles, games that are deeper, have story and character elements because we think that’s the direction that free-to-play mobile casual games will be heading. I stand by the concerns I had about the space and what we love about Social Point is that we believe it addresses all of our concerns.”

The market is properly unforgiving about quality. Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two

Back onto the console side of Take-Two’s business, and it appears that a key component of the firm’s strategy is amiss this year. Previously, the company’s aimed to release one new IP each year, a strategy seen in 2015’s Evolve and last year’s Battleborn. Yet, there are no new franchises on its release slate for 2017; has the poor performance of its last two new franchises discouraged the publisher from trying new things? “The goal is to try and launch one new successful IP in every fiscal year, but we don’t achieve that in every year,” Zelnick explains. “There are the vagaries of development, but there is no question that the strategy of the company remains to bring our beloved franchises to market regularly. We have 11 franchises that have each sold over 5m units in initial release, we have 20

something like 60 that have sold a couple of million units in initial release. New IP is still a big part of our strategy going forward, but we don’t always achieve that each year.” While Take-Two says it saw a good calendar Q4, that wasn’t true for many publishers. As has been said numerous times, releases such as Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Watch Dogs 2 and Dishonored 2 failed to hit the lofty heights set by their predecessors. “It’s hard to know,” Zelnick says when asked for his insight as to why this happened. “I’m not sure why some publishers struggled. At the end of the day, quality wins and when we or our competitors put out a really high quality title, it sells and usually better than expectations. When we or our competitors miss on quality – to be clear, we do as well now and then – we see that we have sales disappointments. The market is properly, correctly so, unforgiving about quality. That’s my own experience of what’s going on.” RIDING INTO THE SUNSET But looking towards the rest of calendar, Red Dead Redemption 2 is hitting shelves. While it’s too early to talk expectations, the prospect of a new Rockstar title launching is, of course, a very big deal. “It’s quite meaningful, obviously,” Zelnick says. “One of the reasons we’re excited about the remaining titles of 2017 is based on the fact we expect to have another growth year for both bookings and cashflow. We also have other titles coming as well. We’re excited and optimistic. In terms of the title itself, Rockstar will talk more about RDR2 in due time, but if you’re asking whether we’re excited and enthusiastic, that would be an understatement.” www.mcvuk.com

15/02/2017 17:15


GOING TO THE MOVIES ONE of the big trends in games recently is publishers taking their IP to the silver screen. Last year saw Angry Birds, Ratchet & Clank and Warcraft films launching, while a Skylanders TV show was released on Netflix. This year opened with Assassin’s Creed coming to the big screen, and properties like Minecraft , Five Nights Freddy’s and Tetris are also getting the film treatment. Some of Take-Two’s IP would also be ripe for the cinema, but the company won’t be funding them itself. “We’ve licensed a couple of titles for motion picture production and we don’t have much more to say about that yet,” CEO Strauss Zelnick tells MCV. “We’re open-minded. We certainly aren’t going to use our own balance sheet to invest in motion pictures and TV. If other people want to license them and we can retain creative control, we are open-minded. The track record of the conversion of video game IP to motion pictures is spotty at best.” Another area that’s become popular recently is merchandise. In fact, two weeks ago Activision launched a new ‘Consumer Products’ division to this very end. While Zelnick is interested in pursuing this business, he feels Take-Two’s IP doesn’t lend themselves to these goods. “Yes, we would be interested,” he says. “It depends on the property you have. When you have IP that are aimed at adults – as many of our properties are – the merchandising opportunities are more limited. Some of our IP that are aimed at families, like WWE and NBA, we don’t control the merchandise rights for. From our company’s perspective, it’s somewhat less of an opportunity than it may be for some of our competitors.”

Strauss Zelnick expects another growth year in 2017


20 21 MCV908 Take Two_V4.indd 2


February 17th 2017

15/02/2017 17:15


Trial by fire: The return of the game demo Game demos are back, so should you be considering one for your next game? Katharine Byrne speaks to the makers of some of 2016’s biggest trials to find out why they’re on the rise again


emos used to be a staple part of a game’s launch cycle. Even as far back as 1994, games magazines would boast about the number of playable demos they had that month, and it was generally accepted business practice that demos were largely beneficial to a game’s overall sales. Indeed, Capcom’s EMEA marketing director Antoine Molant tells MCV that many publishers thought of them as “the perfect tool to boost pre-orders” in the early days, and Bandai Namco’s PR and marketing director Lee Kirton remembers a time “when demos were everywhere.” Over the last console generation, however, they’ve become a rarer kind of beast. Online multiplayer betas still persist, but demos for single-player, story-driven games have practically become non-existent. That is, until Konami rolled out the PT demo/teaser for a Hideo Kojima-developed Silent Hill title at Gamescom 2014. Since then, demos are again taking pride of place in a game’s marketing campaign, with tasters of Capcom’s Resident Evil VII: Biohazard, Bandai Namco’s Tales of Berseria and PlatinumGames’ Nier: Automata all releasing to considerable buzz. Publishers are now even releasing demos post-launch, with Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs 2 and Square Enix’s Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration giving players even more opportunities to try before they buy. As for why demos disappeared in the first place, some might

February 17th 2017

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attribute it to a rather damning DICE presentation given by Schell Games founder Jesse Schell in 2013. In it, he showed that, far from making a game more profitable, releasing a demo actually cut sales in half compared to games that launched with just a trailer before release. For Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata, however, the reasons why demos faded away

greater than we had previously imagined. I have a feeling that these kinds of factors are not completely unrelated to why people don’t do demos so much anymore.” Nier: Automata producer Yosuke Saito echoes Tabata’s sentiments, stating that creating a demo nowadays “still requires a lot of development time and effort, especially as a majority of the work on a demo will usually overlap with the mastering period for the full game.” He continues: “The reason that demo releases became a lot scarcer for a while may have been due to companies making the decision that the benefits of a demo did not outweigh that effort.” Kirton adds that “consumers expect nothing but high quality”, and Molant agrees: “Going live with an average game demo pre-launch could actually have a serious negative impact on sales, on top of adding to the overall dev costs,” says Molant. “Publishers are now much more careful regarding demo content and whether it makes sense to release one.”

Even though a demo is small, it still requires a lot of time and effort.

“Episode Duscae was an important milestone for the development team,” he says. “The previous incarnation of what would become Final Fantasy XV had not shown enough progress publically, to the point where negative rumours were circulating about the development. “There were two reasons why we released demos for the game. The first was because we valued direct communication with the fan base so much. The second was because the game used such a new play style that we felt we needed for people to check it out and understand it before the final release.” The same was true for the Nier: Automata team. “As this title is part of the action RPG genre, we felt that it would be difficult to convey its full appeal through still

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT Deciding to release a demo today isn’t quite as straightforward as it once was, then, but in Final Fantasy XV’s case, Tabata says creating the Episode Duscae demo was vital in showing fans how far the game had come after such a long time in development.

Yosuke Saito, Square Enix

aren’t very clear-cut.“ I don’t really understand [it] myself,” he tells MCV. “However, we certainly realised how high the development costs of a demo actually are when we tried doing the ones for Final Fantasy XV, and we also came to understand how the risks from a marketing perspective were much


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FFXV’s Platinum demo focused on the game’s tech

images and word of mouth alone,” says Saito. “Of course, we could always focus the promotions around video content but we also really wanted to get across how great the feeling of actually playing the game is and so made the decision to do a demo quite early on in the development.” Getting players to experience its world and characters was also important for Bandai Namco’s Tales of Berseria demo. “We don’t have the opportunity to release demos for a lot of our titles so it’s good to allow players the chance to pick up and feel new mechanics, look at the graphics and universe, and as we have a stunning PC version as well this is very important,” says Kirton. “It allows the game to do the talking, or rather playing.”


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For Capcom, Molant says the company wanted to demonstrate “the quality of Resident Evil VII as early as possible, and the best way to do it, when you’re confident you indeed have that quality, was to get gamers to play the game.” A WARM RECEPTION Of course, when the game in question relies so heavily on its story to deliver its dramatic impact, this naturally causes quite a few problems when it comes to avoiding spoilers. “We came up with the idea of having several updates over a period of a few months,” says Molant. “That way we could introduce various aspects of the gameplay, enhance the quality from one update to another, keep the content fresh, and benefit from several spikes of buzz as opposed to one only.”

It seems to have paid off, too, as Molant says the Resident Evil VII demo has been “amazingly well” received by players: “As of today it has been downloaded by more than 7m gamers globally. While we did support each release with a marketing push, it is the positive word of mouth that allowed for such a high number.” Saito says the Nier: Automata demo has also gone down well with players and that he’s “delighted [with] the feedback from all around the world saying people find it fun.” As for Final Fantasy XV’s Episode Duscae, Tabata says that player reactions were “positive overall” but the most valuable feedback came from the more negative responses. “Regarding the negative feedback, there were some very distinctive differences between


OF all the demos that have been released over the last year, you’ll find the vast majority of them have been from Japanese games companies rather than Western ones. Do Japanese game makers have more to prove than their Western counterparts? Bandai Namco’s PR and marketing director Lee Kirton explains: “It’s important to showcase [JRPGs] in the best way as it’s very genre specific,” he says. “It’s hard to gain the same amount of exposure as Call of Duty, but the target market is different with little cross over. “A lot of the titles are very core to the audience and we have a lot of Japanese licenses from Naruto, Dragon Ball , One Piece and Tales of. We also have Japanese developed games that aren’t JRPGs and focused on a western audience. “Demos such as [Resident Evil VII’s] Beginning Hour and PT were very clever ways of focusing on production early to deliver something that players just get excited to jump on and play and therefore create amazing buzz. “Imagine if Kojima and Sony suddenly put a playable demo up for Death Stranding . The impact and buzz would be through the roof. If anything I suppose you can thank Japanese companies for being a bit different and creating a new kind of marketing buzz that gets people excited. It’s a shame that PT never came to be, but at the time it was epic and probably the most talked about demo there was.”

February 17th 2017

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We wanted to demonstrate the quality of the game as early as possible. Antoine Molant, Capcom

Capcom’s demo for Resident Evil’s VII has been downloaded over 7m times

NieR: Automata’s demo opens at the start of the game

Europe, Japan and North America,” he explains. “For Europe and North America the criticism was largely targeted at the need for an RPG style character growth system and for Japan more towards the fact the game progression is not 100 per cent story driven. “One thing that was common across all regions, though, was a dissatisfaction towards the appeal of some of the characters. The development team’s perceptions were somewhat out-of-sync with this opinion, so we worked on improving that a lot for the final release version.” However, while Episode Duscae was a factor in making Final Fantasy XV the game it is today, February 17th 2017

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market and launch a game,” says Molant. “It doesn’t always make sense, [but] as a rule of thumb, when we can and we think it will be a positive experience for gamers, we do try to make it happen. Quality over quantity is a winning formula for everyone.” Kirton concurs: “It depends on the title. Some just can’t make it work without giving away too much, spoiling or not giving away enough and therefore gaining negative comments from players. “With each game we can research each part of the experience and decide if a demo is doable, if it’s the right strategy, right for production and what would be the best timing.”

Tabata says his “gut feeling is that the demo perhaps was not that big a factor in people buying the game.” He explains: “Of all the demos we released globally, none of them were actually a segment of the finished game, so I think it would be difficult for people to see those as a definitive factor in deciding whether to purchase or not.” STANDING TRIAL Despite there being something of a resurgence of demos recently, the marketeers speaking to MCV say that these trials aren’t suitable for every release. “We are of course considering demos as part of our strategy to 24

GIVEN the amount of time that goes into making a game demo, it’s not surprising that most studios can only afford to make one before release. Square Enix, however, released a grand total of three demos for Final Fantasy XV demos before it launched at the end of last year. The first was Episode Duscae, which was bundled in with copies of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. “Final Fantasy Type-0 HD had huge significance for Final Fantasy XV,” says director Hajime Tabata. “The global project structure we set up for FFXV was run as a trial on Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, which is why we were able to pull off such a largescale development on FFXV and handle it globally at the same time.” The second demo was the freely available Platinum demo, which Tabata says was released “with the intention of largely being a tech demo.” He explains: “We were aiming to let fans experience the technology behind FFXV, while also having a fun game experience at the same time and to enjoy something a bit different while they were waiting for the final release.” Finally, the team released the Judgment Disc demo, which was only available to download in Japan. “This was a way of letting the Japanese audience try the final game ahead of release. Games with big open worlds aren’t that popular in Japan, so there were still many people who [said] they didn’t know how you played a game of that nature.”


15/02/2017 16:07


To place an order hit up your account manager on 01183 345 736

or order online at Superindie.co.uk

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Motörhead rocks onto consoles with Victor Vran Just how did a Bulgarian developer end up working with a rock legend via America’s weirdest film production house? Seth Barton explains


o you’re an established, independent developer launching your newest IP onto console for the first time. The market is congested with games, yours isn’t a big brand, so standing out is going to be tough. But you’ve got a card up your sleeve, and it’s the Ace of Spades, because you’ve got Motörhead onboard. That’s the situation that Tropicodeveloper Haemimont Games finds itself in with the release of Victor Vran: Overkill Edition. While there’s no overt branding in the title, the original PC game now comes loaded with extensive extra content: Motörhead: Through the Ages. It’s an unusual situation - a hugely-recognised brand being matched with a relatively unknown game for what is effectively a DLC pack. But then there’s little that’s conventional about Motörhead and this tale of February 17th 2017

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how Haemimont nailed a licensing deal with one of rock’s most popular and enduring acts. VICTORIOUS VRAN But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, for this, as Haemimont CEO Gabriel Dobrev admits, is actually Victor Vran’s third release. Entirely self-funded, the action RPG first saw life on Steam Early Access, where it initially sold 10,000 copies. That’s respectable, but it wasn’t going to keep Haemimont’s considerable 50-person team in Gyuvech - a popular Bulgarian stew - for long. The accepted-logic on Steam is that you only get to launch a game once, but Haemimont decided to double-down on Victor Vran, engage the community, give them with what they asked for, and lay out a comprehensive roadmap of new features. They launched the full retail version,

I knew it was going to work and Motörhead fits brilliantly to Victor Vran and what he does. Achim Heidelauf, Haemimont


and it turned out Victor Vran did have legs. Half-a-million copies later, with a 90 per cent approval rating on Steam, it’s certainly proved itself. This brings us to today and the tricky question of how to best bring a respected Steam release to console. The name doesn’t do the game much favours, admittedly, giving consumers little idea about what the game entails, and the studio’s reputation is centred around Tropico, an unknown brand to most console gamers. CUTTING THE DEAL The basis of the conversion is simple enough - bring the game to PS4 and Xbox One with two considerable expansions – which are also available for the PC version. The first of these, Fractured Worlds, provides procedurally-generated infinite content. But it’s Motörhead: www.mcvuk.com

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THE BULGARIAN CONNECTION: Lemmy of Motörhead (far left) knew Achim Heidelauf of Heathrun (left), who works with Haemimont’s Garbiel Dobrev (right), who is co-publishing the game with Leo Zullo of Wired Productions (far right)

Through the Ages that should really help the title get recognition on console. Based on 40 years of Motörhead, with gameplay revolving around a pub at the end of time, the expansion contains characters and enemies based on artwork from the band’s album covers and other sources. There are also 13 classic tracks from the band, plus some previously unheard instrumentals. The deal all came about through Haemimont working with Achim Heidelauf, an industry veteran and freelance consultant at Heathrun. Heidelauf had once worked on a PC game for Troma, the legendary low-budget film producer, back in 2002. Motörhead’s Lemmy has appeared in www.mcvuk.com

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numerous Troma films over the years and was friends with both Heidelauf and Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman - who provides the voice of the expansion’s publican. We ask Heidelauf how the idea of working with Motörhead started: “Years ago the team discussed the soundtrack of the game. We had a few tracks and we played around with them. But we thought, ‘Let’s try and put some real music into the game’,” he begins. “The original music wasn’t anything like Motörhead, but I played the game with metal stuff on speakers, so we thought, ‘Let’s try that.’ We had a connection to the band already, so I talked to the management in 2014. We talked about licensing just two or

three songs initiallym which would fit well into the game. There was no Motörhead: Through the Ages at that point, it was more experimental, perhaps [we’d] do something, perhaps not. “We talked to them a lot, and the more we talked, the more they wanted to know more about the game, and we explained it and we all came to the conclusion: ‘Why not do a Motörhead game and why not do it connected to Victor Vran and his universe?’” We wonder whether Haemimont ever thought about making an entirely separate game using the same engine, perhaps a full Motörhead game starring Lemmy himself? “We can’t say no,” says Heidelauf. “You go through all these options, but when we talked to the band and especially Lemmy, who was a crazy gamer, we said very early on that we February 17th 2017

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didn’t think it was a good idea to do something like you play him.” Obviously Lemmy’s death at the end of 2015 firmly closed that particular door. “From our point of view only Lemmy can play Lemmy. He’s an icon, it’s just not right. He might have been open to it, but all of us felt let’s go another way. “People said they thought we were mad, but I knew it was going to work and it fits brilliantly to Victor Vran and what he does. Victor is pretty much rock and roll and now we give him the proper weapons,” says Heidelauf, speaking of Victor’s ability to equip a sorcerous guitar, let rip with magical power chords and even streak across the level on his knees, soloing to spectacular, incendiary effect. GUITAR HERO The title is being published by the UK-based Wired Productions, so we also caught up with managing director Leo Zullo. He explains February 17th 2017

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that when it comes to a band such as Motörhead, licensing is never straightforward: “When it comes to licensing there’s never only one deal. There’s one group of people who own the IP, [and] the music people may be separate. Within that, there are the master rights [the recording] and the publishing rights [the composition].” It’s not a straightforward developer-publisher deal, either: “Wired is the co-publisher, Haemimont self-published and selffinanced on Steam and had some help on the PC side from a German outfit, but the rest is self-published. “I’ve known these guys for 15 years, so we came in as a co-publisher, they’ve done a tremendous job of getting it to where it is today but they just needed some console help, some marketing help, some retail help, and that’s where we come in.

We wanted to make sure it’s Victor plus Motörhead, not Motörhead plus Victor. It’s still his game but playing in their world. Leo Zullo, Wired Productions


“We’re publishing both physical and digital versions, but they’ve done 80 per cent of the job. We’re doing the marketing and PR, and the nice stuff like organising events,” he says gesturing around a very well-kept crypt under St. Andrews Church in Holborn, replete with a stocked bar of Jack Daniels and Motörhead’s licensed pale ale. Guitarist Phil Campbell has also arrived to support the event and is currently being interviewed by MTV. The band have hardly been shy to put their name to things over recent years. Motörhead headphones were a logical step, and beer seems to fit right in, too, but you can get the logo on some bizarre stuff these days, including sex toys. Thankfully, the game feels perfectly in step with the band and its impressive catalogue. We ask if Motörhead’s involvement brings confidence in terms of additional exposure, suggesting it brings a fresh angle to a game that has, by its own creators admittance, been around. Zullo agrees, saying: “As an IP, it’s brilliant. They were still touring right up to Lemmy’s death, and were very active still. Victor has different outfits in the original game, with different powers, so having the new Motörhead outfits fits right in.” All the key platforms are covered now with this release, but how about Switch? “We’re talking about a Switch version, everyone in our office has pre-ordered and there’s far more interest in that than the Wii U, but we haven’t come to a conclusion yet.” The title looks a good fit to us. It’s got complexity, but it’s easy to put down and pick back up without losing track of what you were up to. Zullo is pleased with how the IPs match up, too. Victor Vran has seen success in the same regions that Motörhead has sold best in, namely the UK, the Nordics, Germany and the US, of course. He admits there was a temptation to centre on the band, saying: “It was too easy to start talking about Motörhead, and there’s a great game here before you even get to that. “There’s a mention on the box, but it’s tastefully done. We wanted to make sure it’s Victor plus Motörhead, not Motörhead plus Victor. It’s still his game but playing in their world.” www.mcvuk.com

15/02/2017 17:35


















APRIL 22–27, 2017


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08/02/2017 13:58


Do we have your Attention? Production firm Attention Seekers works with some of games’ biggest brands, like EA and Xbox. Done and Dusted is an events giant whose client list includes U2, Robbie Williams, Katy Perry and Victoria’s Secret. Now they’ve teamed up to form AD&D. Alex Calvin reports

Attention Seekers (AS) and Done & Dusted (D&D) partnered up to form a new venture called AD&D. What was the thinking behind this? Phil Tucker (AS): We had a very close working relationship with Done & Dusted for many years working on non-gaming brandrelated projects, as well as with broadcasters in the UK and beyond. We’re currently going through a very important phase within the games industry where live [events are] becoming more important on the calendar. It’s become very obvious in the games industry that platforms or publishers want to bring their audiences to bigger occasions. I very much think the importance of and the desire to do live events will help showcase the games industry as the great medium it is and look to acquire new audiences. February 17th 2017

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There’s been an awakening, as it were, within the games industry to do more and to be more meaningful with big events. With our passion and mindset to invent at Attention Seekers, and the second-to-none production skills over at Done & Dusted to elevate these occasions, we want to make them incredibly meaningful to those in the room or multiple different platforms. It just seems logical that we could then offer this as not only a one-stop-shop, but also to empower game clients to do more with the moment when it comes to big live entertainment and the scale of production.

Without authenticity, gamers will pull you apart in seconds. Jason Wiltshire, Attention Seekers

Jason Wiltshire (AS): We’re seeing in the games industry that people have suddenly decided that live broadcast is important, but a few other things have happened. To start, those traditional calendar 30

beats like E3 and Gamescom are starting to evolve. For example, with Play last year, EA looked at different ways that event could work by bringing in influencers and broadcasters as a priority, so they’re not just reaching the people in the room, but millions at home. On the other side, eSports is another thing that’s forcing the live agenda into the games industry. For years, people have been happy with eSports where it’s a couple of guys behind monitors, a few blokes in poor-fitting suits that don’t look comfortable facing a camera. What’s happening now is that eSports is becoming big, but it’s still behaving in the same way as before. There’s more of a realisation that if we’re ever going to get beyond the core eSports audience and reach a mass market, we need invention. www.mcvuk.com

15/02/2017 16:40


Our core skillset is about translating what is happening on-stage onto a screen and making the experience of not being there as good as possible. It is a specific skill set. We just had something to bring to the party; I just wanted to have a partner who was gaming through and through. That was what had stopped us going down that path alone, otherwise we wouldn’t have done it. We do everything from sport to music to award shows; but we do have a better understanding of those genres than games. Attention Seekers has done big shows for the likes of EA and Microsoft. It also handled Xbox’s YouTube output, Xbox On, until production was shifted to Yogscast. With this, and the news of your collaboration with Done & Dusted, are you moving away from these smaller in-house ventures? Tucker: That’s a heartland of work we are committed to. We still work to deliver the smaller, live occasions as well as the on-going regular content updates like we would have done with Xbox On. We’re not looking to move away from that at all within our business. In fact that area is growing for us, and we want to do more of that. What we are looking to do is put together a killer team that can really deliver to the scale that we are seeing as being commanded and desired by the games industry. Companies are looking to attract larger audiences around some games launches or key industry moments throughout the year. It’s not to move away, but it’s to add more weight to our offer. 

Done & Dusted has previously worked with the likes of U2. Pictured, top to bottom: Wiltshire, Pizey and Tucker

That’s where the understanding of broadcast and where the importance of creating spectacle at a live event needs to come in, combined with a knowledge of video games. Without authenticity, gamers will pull you apart in seconds. That’s really why this is a marriage made in heaven. The Done & Dusted guys can do the live spectacle aspect in their sleep. The gaming authenticity and understanding of how this works in live events is what we do on this side of the Atlantic. Done & Dusted works with giant brands like Victoria’s Secret. Why did you want to get involved in games? Simon Pizey (D&D): To be honest we’ve always been on the fringes of it. We did the Video Game Awards about ten years ago. But it hasn’t been our core business www.mcvuk.com 

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because what we do tends to be big, large and expensive. Our skillset wasn’t something that was particularly desired in that arena. We also tended to look over the fence at [the industry] when it started to grow and go, saying, ‘That looks interesting’. If you cut me, I don’t bleed video games. I have an awareness of them and I play them, but on a casual basis. I was very aware that me walking into a room full of gamers and saying: ‘Hey guys, I get you. Come let us work with you’ – it was never going to feel comfortable, so I didn’t do it. That’s when we were working with Attention Seekers on other stuff and we had a discussion where we went: ‘you have the bit we need and we have some of the bits that you need’. We saw there was a growing market so we decided to go be part of it.

You mentioned a desire to bring better production values to eSports events. Do you think this might help attract nonendemic advertisers? Pizey: As someone who is more on the broadcast side of things, I look at what’s happening in the streaming world and think it’s so much more exciting. But there is a reality where the people who are only on the streaming side 31

look at the broadcast world with some envy. That’s where the sponsorship is and where there big brands hang out. It’s a weird thing, both sides look at the other with envy. There is a big desire in broadcast to get the viewers and get the young demographic that the online world has in spades, and there’s a big desire from game brands to get onto broadcast because that’s where they can get access to the bigger sponsorship opportunities. Both sides want each other and what we’ll hopefully be able to do, as people on both sides of that line, is merge them a bit and take them in either direction basically. What are your ambitions moving forwards? Wiltshire: I’d like to see us doing for competitive gaming what Sky did for football when they came to the UK. I don’t mean pumping it full of money and ruining the game, I mean from the presentation of football. I’d really like to see us go in and revolutionise how competitive gaming is presented. You look at some very popular triple-A titles that have had competitive gaming built around them, and look at the fraction of people who watch or engage with the competition, the broadcasts – it’s minuscule compared to the actual people investing in this game. The opportunity is massive. If it’s right, the fans of these games will tune in and watch this as religiously as people watch football on TV. But it’s about revolutionising the way that broadcasters screen to people. That, for me, would be a key goal.

Pizey: In an ideal world, I’d love it if we were working with some stakeholders to create a new event from the ground up. That’s really exciting. We’re in a space in the evolution of the gaming industry where there’s definitely opportunity to do that and we want to work with brands and games companies to create those events. February 17th 2017

15/02/2017 16:40


In Fire and Flame The Molasses Flood team has worked on the likes of Halo, BioShock and Guitar Hero, so why did they opt to go indie? Alex Calvin speaks to CEO Forrest Dowling about the Boston-based developer and why it went to Kickstarter to fund its debut release, The Flame in the Flood


s part of this section, we’re used to talking to indie developers with some triple-A pedigree. But it’s rare to see so much of it at one studio. Between them, the team at The Molasses Flood – named after the 1919 Boston industrial accident that saw a tank storing molasses burst and a wave of the black treacle rushing through the streets at 35mph in an incident that killed 21 and injured a further 150 – has worked on some juggernaut IP, such as Halo, BioShock, Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The studio was formed following the downsizing of BioShock maker Irrational back in 2014, with lead level designer Forrest Dowling finding himself in the Boston area with a bunch of “very talented developers”. With the company’s pedigree, they could have easily walked into jobs at any triple-A developer. So why remain indie? “One of the reasons I like making games is because you’re always learning new things,” Dowling says. “I hit a point working as a level designer on these big first-person shooters where the tools were always changing, but I understood the job pretty well. The speed I was learning was going down a bit and I really wanted to try something new. “The idea of trying a very small team with very limited resources, bootstrapping and making a lot from a little was very appealing for me. That was a big part of it. Also, if things didn’t work out with The Molasses Flood, I would not be weeping or feeling like a failure if I needed to go back to working on triple-A titles. I really enjoyed that as well. It’s just a very different process, that’s all.” February 17th 2017

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For its first game, The Flame in the Flood, The Molasses Flood turned to Kickstarter in 2014 with a goal of $150,000. The studio raised $251,647. “We went [with Kickstarter] because we looked at the different funding options when we were starting up. We knew that we were working off savings and severance so we knew that wouldn’t be enough to fund development of the project,” Dowling explains. “We knew we were going to need something more. In terms of the landscape at the time, we wanted to make a modest project and we knew that Kickstarter was a good source of income if your goals are pretty modest. The options then were either Kickstarter, investor or publisher. A publisher would fund development but would want to take a huge amount of the game or IP. A lot of times, an investor wants a lot of different things from the company. They want companies that grow. Kickstarter was doing well at the time and we felt like we had a compelling game to take to Kickstarter that we thought would resonate with people and I think we were right about that. That’s why we ended up going in that direction.”

We wanted to make a modest project and we knew that Kickstarter was a good source of income if your goals are pretty modest. Forrest Dowling, The Molasses Flood

The Flame in the Flood hit Xbox One and PC in 2016; it came to PS4 in January

you can carry over because it changes so rapidly. People’s experiences are probably very different depending on what they have going into Kickstarter. We had a pretty clear idea of what we were doing just from having the benefit of being present for the creation and execution of marketing campaigns for other big titles, where we got to learn from people way more professional and seasoned in that stuff than a lot of indie developers might have access to. We scrambled a bit here and there because running a Kickstarter is this really crazy, emotionally impactful thing in that you are getting notifications all the time and questions over the life of the campaign.

MOVING MAP Yet despite having run a successful Kickstarter campaign, Dowling doesn’t feel like he could provide expertise into the crowdfunding platform just yet. “Kickstarter is an ever-shifting market place. I couldn’t be a useful Kickstarter consultant at this point because it’s completely different now to how it was a few years ago when we were in one,” he admits. “There’s not a lot of great institutional knowledge that 00 32

“There’s always a burst up front, there’s always a burst at the end, but it gets really tense if you’re not hitting your goals or feel like you’re close because maybe you put a third of your target on the board in the first few days, and then it trickles down to one or 0.5 per cent a day and stays like that for the month. At that point, you panic a bit. There’s certainly a pressure to scramble midway through to see how you can do more, get people to write about us, share as on Twitter and YouTube again. “It’s tough, a lot of people are very cynical about Kickstarter, though that’s peaked and diminished. Enough projects have good feeling around them but they came out at a point when the audience was www.mcvuk.com

15/02/2017 16:08

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08/02/2017 09:41


The Flame in the Flood was created to be “deeply replayable”

cynical, people didn’t realise that games take a few years to make. Kickstarter can have a really big year, a year and a half will pass, then the projects funded just won’t be out yet. Kickstarter also funds projects by less experienced teams. You’re far more likely to miss targets if you haven’t been through the process of shipping games before. Everything takes much longer than you think. People worry they’re feeding money into something that’s not going to happen. That’s diminished, but I suspect that the audience funding projects isn’t as diverse right now. There are so many games out there that it’s hard to get someone to back their first Kickstarter at this point. “It’s really hard to grow that audience. Even huge games on Kickstarter get maybe 20,000 backers which if you look at what a game needs to sell to succeed, the peak Kickstarter audience is one per cent of the actual audience for any given game. You’re scrambling to get noticed by this tiny group of people. It’s an interesting platform and process for sure.” February 17th 2017

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Following its Kickstarter, the developer initially self-published the game on PC and Xbox One, before teaming up with Curve Digital for a PS4 edition. GOING ROGUE The Flame in the Flood is one of many roguelike games that have hit the market in the recent memory. This genre, characterised by a high difficulty, random level design and death sending the player back to the start of the game has become very popular in the last few years, especially in the indie development community. “There are a few reasons [for this],” Dowling says when asked about the genre’s popularity. “There are so many games out there, so when people buy games they are very value focused – they want to know they will get a lot out of a game when they are looking to spend some money. The slate of games includes titles that are infinite in their playability. For smaller companies, something that’s appealing about the roguelike, or the randomly generated games you get, is that you can get a lot

The peak Kickstarter audience is one per cent of the actual audience for any given game. You’re scrambling to get noticed by this tiny group of people. Forrest Dowling, Molasses Flood


of content for the player out of not a humungous amount of content for the team to offer. And as a designer, I think there’s an appeal to the roguelike in that – with the procedural generation part – they are almost like a digital version of some of the more classic evergreen board or card games. “You come up with a rule system that the player and game needs to conform to. From that, you get infinite variation within it, so it’s a really interesting challenge to think in those terms when making a game. We had our own reasons for doing it; part of it was content, another was that it was an interesting problem to solve. “I also wanted to go in a very different direction having previously worked on BioShock Infinite. That was a game that was all about these very precise and authored set-pieces that the player experiences. I really wanted to move away from the sort of game where you need to spend months and months on a single moment.” He concludes: “I get a lot more satisfaction by creating something that is deeply replayable.” www.mcvuk.com

15/02/2017 16:08



INSIDER’S GUIDE: Sounding Sweet The managing director of audio production firm Sounding Sweet Ed Walker talks about his company’s expertise and the shift to high-quality audio in games Tell us about your company. Sounding Sweet is an independent recording and audio production company that specialises in the production of sound for computer games. We offer a high quality, bespoke service to all our clients, ranging from voice recording and sound effect asset creation to implementation, audio production, consultation, management services and complete integration within the development team. We have an industry standard recording and surround sound mixing facility in Stratford-uponAvon, as well as an office with five further audio production suites in the centre of Leamington Spa.

What successes have you seen recently? Last January we expanded into new offices, which has let us grow. The additional expertise and experience offered by our new team members has allowed us to expand our work capacity and provide additional services. Last year, we worked on several currently un-announced titles and played a pivotal role in providing the audio content for this year’s triple-A hit from Playground, Forza Horizon 3.

are tied when it comes to talking about this. But I can say that we are currently working on a very exciting triple-A mobile title, while also supporting several multiplatform console games. What are the biggest trends in the games industry right now? With the increased momentum behind VR, more players are experiencing game audio through headphones. Many devs are investing in high-quality audio, both from their internal audio teams and outsource partners. We have recently seen a rise in the amount of technical audio design work being outsourced.

What are you working on now? As is often the case with outsource providers, our hands

WHO? Specialism: Audio recording and sound production Location: 27 Oak Rd, Tiddington, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 7BU Contact: www.soundingsweet.com 01789 297 453 info@soundingsweet.com


RTI Devil 2.0 Introducing the eagerly-awaited Devil 2.0. Now manufactured by RTI, the Devil 2 has the familiar look of the previous best-selling disc repair machine but with an improved cut-rate for quicker repairs, a more robust build quality and much better performance on Blu-ray discs.

Quick, low cost repairs

Counter top solution

Robust and reliable

Repair all formats inc. Blu-ray


Introductory offer:

plus VAT

totaldiscrepair.co.uk/devil2 Call: 01202 489 500 www.mcvuk.com 

35 MCV908 Insiders Guide_V4.indd 1

Email: sales@totaldiscrepair.co.uk 35

February 17th 2017

15/02/2017 17:05


PERIPHERALS, ACCESSORIES & MERCHANDISE DC Games Group Tel: +98 912 101 4090 www.doostan-co.co

Amiqus Tel: 01925 839 700 www.amiqus.com

Audio Motion Tel: 08701 600 504 www.audiomotion.com

Techland Tel: +48 506 688 384 www.techland.pl

Strawdog Studio Tel: 01332 258 395 www.strawdogstudios.com


Creative Distribution Tel: 0208 664 3456 www.creativedistribution.co.uK


Axis Animation Tel: 0203 457 0580 www.axisanimation.com

Gaming Merchandise Tel: 01562 823 261 www.gamingmerchandiseuk.com

Lime Tel: 0844 893 3933 www.limedistribution.co.uk

The Digi Monsters Ltd. Tel: 01926 350 141 www.thedigimonsters.com

Dimensional Imaging Tel: 0141 585 6481 www.di4d.com


Sounding Sweet Tel: 01789 297 453 www.soundingsweet.com

Dead Good PR Tel: 07780 600 728 www.deadgoodmedia.com

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

TakeOff UK Tel: 0203 416 5131 www.takeoff.uk.com


14/02/2017 11:06



bizdev@techland.pl pr@techland.pl




+48 (0) 506 688 384

ADDRESS: Jana Szczyrki 12, 54-426 Wrocław, Poland

WE’VE Been Around the Block: Techland is a renowned independent game developer, distributor, and publisher with offices in Warsaw, Wrocław, Ostrów Wielkopolski, and Vancouver, Canada. Founded in 1991 and with over 25 years combined experience from indie to blockbuster triple-A titles, we’ve done it all. We Make Awesome Games: we’re best known for the original Dead Island games, the Call of Juarez series, and Dying Light. Thanks to our own proprietary game engine technology, we develop top-tier entertainment content for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Linux, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS. We Publish Amazing Titles: as a developer, we have worked with many renowned publishers in the past so we know what makes these kinds of collaborations efficient and satisfying for both parties. We believe in a flexible and open publishing philosophy, based on respect for the players. We’re currently working with Brian Fargo’s team at inXile Entertainment on Torment: Tides of Numenera to be released globally on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. We’re in this Together: for us working on games is a passion that brings a lot of extremely talented people together. Through thick and thin we work like a team and family, striving to make things we can all be proud of.


Games Guide DPS 2017 WEEK 4.indd 2

14/02/2017 11:06


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: infos@cld.be Web: www.cld.be home of www.dragonwar.eu & www.mawashi.eu

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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


38 MCV908 International Distributor Guide_V1.indd 1



14/02/2017 11:05






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

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

Web: www.finkcreative.com

Tel: +44 (0)203 137 3781

email: sales@click-entertainment.com


Web: www.creativedistribution.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0) 1792 652521





Web: www.curveball-leisure.com DISTRIBUTION

Empowering your creative business

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


Tel: +302 1090 11900

Web: www.enarxis.eu

Tel: +44 (0) 207 462 6200

Web: www.sonydadc.com

MCV_100x75mm_1015V01.indd 1


39 40 MCV908 Directory_V1.indd 1


05.10.15 13:42

February 17th 2017

14/02/2017 11:07




Tel: 01923 881000

Web: www.logic3.com



Tel: 01622 845 161

Web: www.limedistribution.co.uk




February 17th 2017

39 40 MCV908 Directory_V1.indd 2



14/02/2017 11:07


OFF THE RECORD This week Victor Vran gets a rock-and-roll themed expansion, while Bandai Namco’s UK team gets punched in the face ONLY ROCK N’ROLL BUT I LIKE IT SO action RPG Victor Vran is coming to console alongside an expansion themed around Motörhead. They’re a rock band. You know they’re a rock band because there was lots of Jack Daniels at the event. Guitarist Phil Campbell was present (he’s the cool guy with the cool hat), to represent the band. Also present was Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman, who is the expansion’s main quest giver (we are reliably informed). Doing so while attired in a rather natty waistcoat.

PUNCH CLUB RECENTLY, Bandai Namco held a preview event for its upcoming line-up of games, which features everything from the small but promising Little Nightmares to big hitters like brawler Tekken 7. Speaking of which, here is a picture of PR and marketing director Lee Kirton acting very cool, moments before being punched by Kazuya Mishima... while events and community manager Edwin Chuah gets smacked in the head by Jin Kazuma. Though he recovered to also enjoy Project Cars 2 in VR.




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


41 42 MCV908 Off The Record_V5.indd 1

The ‘12 Days of GamesAid’ eBay promotion that ran from December 5th to December 18th has raised over £950. Items included, amongst others, a Deluxe Edition of Final Fantasy XV and artbook signed by game director Hajime Tabata.


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.


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.

February 17th 2017

15/02/2017 17:04


Green Man Gaming Asks...

With some saying that the Switch’s launch lineup is a little bare, how much do you think a poor launch lineup harms a console? #GMGasks

Each week Green Man Gaming asks the Twitter community what they think about the biggest gaming topics trending today. Tag your reply with #GMGasks to have your say!

It harms it a lot. The same thing happened to the PS3. It had a poor launch and couldn’t really recover.

They’re banking on day one buyers flocking to Zelda. Zelda’s are usually long so it’ll serve as a distraction for a bit lol.



Not much. The PS4 is three years old and STILL waiting for a killer title. (for those of us who already own a PC that is).

Too many unknowns. Grab Zelda on Wii U and wait. Too quiet on eshop and VC specifics. Wait for Mario before buying in.



I’ve yet to see a system release since the SNES that people didn’t say that it had no games at launch.

It’s asking a lot on consumers to put a lot of faith in the console without much content - not always the best outcomes.



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41 42 MCV908 Off The Record_V5.indd 2

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Call our specialist sales teams North 01282 776776 South 01256 707070 store.exertis.co.uk

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

LIMITED TABLES LEFT Firmly established as the unrivalled badge of excellence for the games sector, the prestigious MCV Awards 2017 showcase top class performance and innovation. Book online today or contact Maeve at: mnicholson@nbmedia.com or call +44(0)203 871 7383. Fantastic sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact us today to fi nd out how you can get involved: lmcdiarmid@nbmedia.com HEADLINE PARTNER







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Profile for Future PLC

MCV908 February 17th  

MCV908 February 17th