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K R O W A N N A W U O Y O D WITH ME CREEP ? Rebellion opens up on 2000 AD licensing PAGE 23


04/04/2017 17:58



ACTIVISION has finally confirmed the existence of Destiny 2, a "full sequel" to its popular first person shooter franchise. A global gameplay premiere is set for May 18th, with a worldwide release coming on September 8th. It will also be the first time the franchise comes to PC, giving both Bungie and Activision plenty of scope for expanding the game's potential audience.




AFTER teasing the game's logo on the company's official Twitter account at the end of March, Activision confirmed the game's release date three days later. CEO Eric Hirshberg stated: “Destiny was the biggest launch of a new console video game franchise ever. Along with our incredibly talented partners at Bungie, we are focusing on making Destiny 2 even better, with state of the art first person action, an awesome new story, great characters, and thoughtful innovations that make the game more accessible to all different kinds of players. We're also bringing Destiny 2 to the PC platform for the first time.�

THE initial announcement was met with much excitement from the games press, with Kyle Orland from Ars Technica saying it "represents a major transition for the popular shooter." However, critics said they'd also like to see plenty of improvements before the game launches later this autumn. PC Gamer's Tim Clark warned that platform exclusivity deals could harm the game in the long run, and that "anything that discourages people from playing on PC is bad from our point of view, because we want the healthiest playerbase possible." Wired's Julie Muncy also said that the trailer implies it will just be "a bigger, better version of the more conventional creature its predecessor became" and doesn't do justice to the game's potential.

WITH players having to abandon all of their previous progress from the original game, Destiny 2 should be more appealing to both new and lapsed players alike. That will be of little consolation to the fans who put in hundreds of hours in the first game, but Activision has already assured investors that it won't abandon or alienate existing players. "The cornerstone of [Destiny] is a great cinematic story," said Hirshberg. "That's been a real focus with a great cast of memorable relatable characters, coupled with some very nice ways to make the game more accessible to a casual player without losing anything that our core players love."




IN a statement, president and CEO Karen McGinnis said: "Regrettably and notwithstanding that for a significant amount of time the company has been actively pursuing its strategic alternatives, including various near term financing alternatives such as bank financing and equity infusions, as well as potential sales of certain assets of the company or a sale of the company in its entirety, the company has been unable to find a satisfactory solution to its cash liquidity problems. "The board of directors and management would like to acknowledge the outstanding efforts of the company's employees in support of its business, especially during the time that the company faced financial difficulties."

EULOGIES to the peripherals maker came in fast, with The Verge's Paul Miller applauding the company as being "just crazy enough to try anything" like its Surf R controller for Android. That said, he also went on to say that, despite its achievements, it will no doubt be "best known for its little brother controllers, [...] which inevitable fails in his hour of need while you drift past him to victory." Den of Geek's Matthew Byrd echoed this, stating: "Goodnight sweet second controller prince," while Motherboard's Kevin Wong said its "history mirrored the game industry it was inextricably linked to," moving from cheap, disposable controllers to state of the art peripherals. "The future, in part thanks to them, will move on without them," he concluded.

AFTER Mad Catz went all in on the ill-fated Rock Band 4, the news of its demise isn't wholly unsurprising. However, with the company having filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, this means that it doesn't intend to start up again once its debt has been settled. It also won't be sold to a third party. Finally, Mad Catz's nine lives have run out.


PERIPHERALS manufacturer Mad Catz has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The entire company will be liquidated by financial firm PWC, and all company directors have resigned. Mad Catz had been in trouble for some time, following poor sales of Rock Band 4, several job cuts and previous resignations from its executives. It announced a huge loss in June 2016, but failed to find a buyer to help keep it afloat. April 7th 2017

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04/04/2017 18:39


THE EDITOR WORTH WAITING FOR MCV launched 19 years ago that’s very long time in the video game industry. After all, we’ve only been waiting ten-odd years for Half-Life 3. It seems longer still when you consider this is the 914th weekly edition. As a weekly magazine, MCV once provided up-to-date news like no other platform. However, things change and it’s time for us to change too. So, MCV will be fortnightly from its next issue, starting on April 21st. Why fortnightly you may ask? Well, even a weekly circulation is glacial compared to the minuteby-minute news you receive online. So the magazine will step back and take a wider, more analytical look at the industry. It’ll be bigger, too, with roughly double the pages of editorial content.

But why not monthly? With an issue every two weeks, we can still analyse recent events and look forward over the next fortnight in real depth. We can still have issues close to all the major events in the gaming calendar. A more traditional monthly frequency simply wouldn’t allow us to cover upcoming releases close enough to launch.

MCV will be fortnightly from its next issue, starting on April 21st.

DROP THE DEAD DONKEY So what exactly is going to be in this new MCV? No news for starters - that will all be moved online where it belongs, and supported by a brand new website launching in the next few months. Instead, you’ll see more comment from around the industry, more features and more interviews. Physically, the magazine will be undergoing a complete revamp:




APRIL 2017

25 million copies of The Witcher games have been sold to date

......................................................................... LONDON GAMES FESTIVAL 2017 Various events across London Thursday, March 30th - Sunday, April 9th ■ Games London expects 50,000 people to attend this year's edition, after 38,000 people gathered last year. ■ The festival opened with EGX Rezzed and, like last year, will include the British Academy Games Awards on April 6th, and the Now Play This fest from April 7th to 9th. BAFTA GAMES AWARDS 2017 Tobacco Dock, London Thursday, April 6th ■ The next British Academy Games Awards ceremony takes place tonight, as part of the London Games Festival. VR WORLD CONGRESS Millenium Square, Bristol Tuesday, April 11th - Thursday, April 13th

new paper, new size, a proper bound edge and a complete redesign, giving it a clean, flexible, modern look to match the new forward-looking content. The team here are really excited about the changes, as it will give us more time to concentrate on bringing you the best content, rather than racing to hit nearconstant deadlines. Looking beyond the magazine and new website, we’re expanding the range of engaging and popular events that MCV hosts every year, including Women in Games, the Future Games Summit and, of course, the MCV Awards. Obviously, the proof is in the pudding, so please bear with us for a couple of weeks and we’ll reveal the new look to you on the 21st.

■ After gathering over 750 buyers and sellers from 23 countries last year, the VR World Congress is coming back to Bristol in 2017. ■ From April 11th to April 13th, over 2,000 people are expected to attend conferences and events around various topics such as VR's out-of-home opportunities, streaming VR and AR content, democratising VR adoption, and collaborating with brands in VR. ■ You can buy tickets on the event's website: INSOMNIA60 Birmingham’s NEC Friday, April 14th - Monday, April 17th ■ As always, all the latest games will be there, as well as zones dedicated to VR, board games, indie titles, retro gaming, Minecraft, cosplay and a drone arena. ■ You can buy tickets on the event's website:

40 40 per cent of game companies are considering relocation because of Brexit


Half a million Switch consoles have been sold in Japan

1080 Twitch ups its streaming quality to 1080p and 60fps

50,000 The 2017 London Games Festival is aiming to reach 50,000 people AG Prismatic Controller - PDP Design and manufacture the Afterglow Prismatic Controller for Xbox ONE Officially licensed by Microsoft

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April 7th 2017

04/04/2017 18:39


Nintendo takes Steam approach to digital on Switch SteamWorld Dig 2 developer Image & Form has said Nintendo has finally ‘got with the times’ and streamlined its digital publishing process

SteamWorld Dig 2 is coming to the Switch this summer, and the process was made a lot easier by Nintendo, developer Image & Form said

By Katharine Byrne NINTENDO is taking the same approach to digital publishing as its mobile and PC rivals, SteamWorld Dig 2 developer Image & Form has told MCV, making its new console as easy to develop for as the PS4 and Xbox One. “With the Wii U and 3DS, [Nintendo] started to realise that they had to get with the times,” said Image & Form’s community manager Julius Guldbog. “Publishing for Nintendo consoles has been, in the past, not a nightmare, but pretty close. They make sure every QA gate is good enough. It takes months, and you have to do that for every region, and if you fail, it takes even longer. You have to get a new slot, and release dates are pushed back. “But with the Switch, we only have to make one version and only have one launch – and that’s one version for the entire world, so we’ll April 7th 2017

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have the same version in the US, Europe and a little bit later, Japan and China as well. That saves so much work. It means we can do the translations ourselves, we don’t have to have a new publisher for one specific region - it’s going to be so much easier. They’re basically taking the Steam or App Store approach: one version of the game for the entire world.” He also spoke about how Nintendo’s now playing a much more active role in recruiting thirdparty support: “From what I’ve seen, just using Nintendo’s publishing tools to set up everything from sales to getting the name right on the eShop, everything like that, it’s much more streamlined and more modern. Even Nintendo’s approach to how they get new indies to join the Switch family – nowadays, they see a good game at a convention and they just walk straight up to them and ask them to develop for Switch. From what I know, they’ve

Using Nintendo’s publishing tools is much more streamlined and more modern. Julius Guldbog, Image & Form


never done that before, so I think they are getting with the times. They know more than anyone what they did wrong with the Wii U, and 3DS in some cases as well, and they really want to fix that.” Guldbog was confident about the Switch’s ability to compete with the PS4 and Xbox One as well, both in terms of its development process and the quality of its titles. “We’ve had no [development] problems at all,” he said. “It’s up there with the PS4 and Xbox One. PC will always be the easiest, of course, but [Switch] is up there with the big leagues, which is really good. “Switch isn’t as powerful as the PS4 or Xbox One, but it’s pretty darn close. Just look at Snake Pass or Fast RMX. Snake Pass is extra interesting, because look at how good the graphics are compared to the PS4 version. I think if developers put their mind to it and optimise the game for the Switch, it can run anything.”

04/04/2017 17:25


SuperData: Luckey departure ‘long time coming’ By Katharine Byrne Palmer Luckey’s seemingly sudden departure from Oculus was “a long time coming,” according to SuperData’s VP of research and strategy and head of VR/AR strategy Stephanie Llamas, after his role had “become increasingly redundant” in the wake of Oculus’ lawsuit with ZeniMax. “Oculus is failing compared to its competitors and Luckey’s reputation certainly hasn’t helped. With his donation scandal [to an anti-Clinton site] and his part in the ZeniMax lawsuit [where he was cited as breaking an NDA], Facebook has pushed him further and further into the background,” Llamas told MCV. “HTC Vive has been outselling their device almost two-to-one, a company that has been incredibly

vocal about expanding the VR ecosystem for the good of the industry, not just the company, and has made a strong push for nongaming content. Oculus needs to compete with that, and after a slew of bad press that mostly centers on Luckey, this seems like the natural next step.” She added: “The bad press hasn’t necessarily been a deal breaker for consumers, but content creators are getting spooked. Not only are they grappling with Oculus’s poor reputation and underwhelming sales, ZeniMax’s injunction could potentially affect the majority of their developers. That is partly why Facebook is throwing money at developers to create exclusive content for the device and cutting their prices to attract more consumers for developers to access.”

“Oculus is failing compared to its competitors,” SuperData’s Llamas told MCV

Meanwhile, one upside of Luckey’s departure is that it could propel Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg into a more prominent position as a VR advocate, Llamas added. “Mark Zuckerberg has been a positive and charismatic supporter

of Oculus and has served as a far more powerful spokesperson for the company. Luckey’s departure, and Iribe’s role change, push Zuckerberg further into the spotlight, a strategy that will serve both Facebook and Oculus well.”

FIFA 17 topped UK digital charts in February By Marie Dealessandri FIFA 17 has once again topped the UK digital Top Ten, making a huge £7.59m in February, according to SuperData. Sales were down over 15 per cent compared to January for EA’s football behemoth, but it still made almost twice as much revenue as February’s No.2, Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V, during the same period. Rockstar’s best-seller generated £4.15m in revenue (compared to £4.42m in January), putting it just ahead of Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and its £3.17m. Sales for the FPS title were actually up 9.3 per cent month-on-month, likely due to the release of the Sabotage DLC early in February. EA also took fourth place with Battlefield 1, which made £2.91m, as well as the seventh spot with FIFA 16, which still managed to make £1.56m despite being out for well over two years. Studio Wildcard’s Ark: Survival Evolved kept its fifth spot last 

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month with £2.27m in revenues – a 15 per cent decline compared to January. Meanwhile, Ubisoft’s For Honor debuted at No.8 with revenues reaching £1.54m. With four titles in the Top Ten (with usual suspects Destiny and Overwatch being respectively at No.9 and No.10), Activision Blizzard made £7.26m in February, which didn’t even reached what FIFA 17 made alone. So EA, once again, was the top digital publisher last month, with added revenues reaching £12.06m. RANK


01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

FIFA 17 Grand Theft Auto V Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Battlefield 1 ARK: Survival Evolved Call of Duty: Black Ops III FIFA 16 For Honor Destiny Overwatch

FIFA 17 made £7.59m digitally in February, while FIFA 16 still generated £1.56m

PUBLISHER EA Sports Rockstar Games Activision Blizzard Electronic Arts Studio Wildcard Activision Blizzard EA Sports Ubisoft Activision Blizzard Activision Blizzard


DEVELOPER EA Canada Rockstar North Infinity Ward EA DICE Studio Wildcard Treyarch EA Canada Ubisoft Montreal Bungie Blizzard Entertainment

DIGITAL REVENUE GBP £7.59m £4.15m £3.17m £2.91m £2.27m £1.83m £1.56m £1.54m £1.28m £0.98m

April 7th 2017

04/04/2017 17:25


Global digital revenue up 4% in February SuperData Research’s latest report shows a four per cent growth in worldwide digital software revenue, bolstered by a strong start for Ubisoft’s For Honor

DIGITAL revenue for the worldwide games software market reached $7.63bn (£6.12bn) in February according to a new report from SuperData Research, showing a growth of 4 per cent year-on-year. The data firm put this down to a nine per cent and eight per cent year-on-year growth in the mobile and console segments respectively, but said shrinking pay-to-play, freeto-play and social markets curtailed the figure overall. In the US alone, digital revenue grew 6.4 per cent year-on-year in February across console, PC and mobile games, with console digital revenue in particular showing an impressive 18 per cent rise yearon-year. This was partly due to the higher average selling price of digital units, but DLC releases are also helping to extend a game’s life cycle beyond its initial launch. SuperData also reported a strong start for Ubisoft’s For Honor, which sold through more than 700,000 digital units across console and PC. This is particularly notable considering February’s a traditionally slow month post-

Christmas, but EA’s Battlefield 1 arguably outshone For Honor’s achievement by selling more digital units across console and PC in February than Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Titanfall 2 combined. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare still ranked higher in SuperData’s Top Ten worldwide rankings, however, claiming the No.2 spot while Battlefield 1 charted at No.4. Meanwhile, FIFA 17 claimed the No.1 spot in February thanks to another month of strong digital growth. Ultimate Team console revenue grew by 15 per cent yearon-year in monthly active users, and it also showed a rise in both conversion and average revenue per paying user. It’s not all good news, however, as Blizzard’s Hearthstone hit an all-new low last month, with revenue down significantly both year-on-year and monthon-month. SuperData didn’t provide exact figures, but noted that recent gameplay decisions have been unpopular with the Hearthstone community, which has resulted in a sharp decrease in conversion on mobile.

Top grossing console titles worldwide, ranked by February 2017 earnings:

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

FIFA 17 EA Title Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Grand Theft Auto V Battlefield 1 Call of Duty: Black Ops III Ark: Survival Evolved For Honor Madden NFL 17 Destiny NBA 2K17

Publisher Activision Blizzard Rockstar EA Activision Blizzard Studio Wildcard Ubisoft EA Activision 2K

Gamescom 2017 tickets now on sale TICKETS for Europe’s biggest games show are now on sale. Running from Tuesday August 22nd (or Wednesday 23rd for members of the public) until Saturday August 26th, Gamescom 2017 returns to Cologne’s Koelnmesse once again for its ninth edition this summer, and tickets for the event are now available from the show’s online Ticket Shop. Trade visitor tickets are available for each day of the show, but three-day passes granting access from Tuesday to Thursday are also up for grabs. Early bird prices

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will apply while stocks last, but much like previous years, each trade visitor ticket is issued to a specific person and cannot be transferred to other attendees. Regular day passes for members of the public are also available, along with family tickets for two parents or legal guardians and at least two children aged 7-11. Valid ticket holders will also be able to use Cologne’s public transport networks VRR and VRS to arrive at and depart from the show free of charge.


04/04/2017 16:13


Former Take-Two CEO joins Green Man Gaming Green Man Gaming appoints new board advisor and forms new team n Milestone bolsters marketing team GREEN MAN GAMING | The e-commerce company has appointed two new senior members of staff. Former TakeTwo CEO PAUL EIBELER (pictured top) has joined as board advisor while SAM BENNETT (pictured above) has taken on the role of EVP of customer experience and communications. Previously, Eibeler was president and later CEO of TakeTwo, and he’s currently chairman of software distribution and marketing services company Cokem International. Eibeler commented: “I’m excited to be joining the Green Man

the gaming community globally and experience of successfully improving customer engagement is highly valuable to Green Man Gaming as we grow our newly launched Green Man Gaming Community. As a passionate gamer who understands our audience and a well-respected community expert in the industry, we look forward to working with Sam to make sure we put our customers first at all times.”

Gaming team during an exciting period of growth and expansion in the business. Paul Sulyok and the team have successfully built strong relations with leading game publishers worldwide offering consumers a wide catalogue of multi-platform games. I hope to share my experiences and industry knowledge with the team to further build on this success.” Bennett, meanwhile, will lead Green Man Gaming’s new customer experience and communications team, bringing with him his experience of managing and engaging communities as well as customer relationships globally at EA, Sony and Activision. Green Man Gaming CEO and founder PAUL SULYOK added: “Sam’s deep understanding of

MILESTONE | ANDREA LOIUDICE has been appointed marketing manager at Italian motorsport developer Milestone. For the past year, he’s been Milestone’s international senior

product manager, but he’s also worked for the likes of Activision, Paramount and Atari. His new role will see him take charge of Milestone’s entire marketing umbrella, handling all global marketing strategies as well as the social media, PR and creative teams going forward. Vice president LUISA BIXIO stated: “As a product manager, Andrea’s been a great asset for Milestone. I’m confident he’ll bring the same level of experience to his new position, helping drive all of our new titles to success.” Loiudice added: “With big titles like Gravel, MotoGP17 and MXGP 3 all set to make their mark for Milestone in 2017, I can’t wait to take on the challenges that lie ahead as the studio increases its presence on the global stage.”

Ready to make your next move? Whether you’re looking for your first job or next career move, our team of specialists have got the experience and industry know-how to find the perfect role for you. When you work with us, you’ll soon realise that we’re not your average recruitment company. Our passion for the job shines through in everything we do. We excel at placing great candidates in their dream jobs, and we’ve been doing it for over 25 years, developing a huge network of industry contacts along the way, and evolving alongside the studios and brands we work with. 01709 834777 

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April 7th 2017

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“A 3D platformer Rare-vival” that’s how developer Playtonic described Yooka-Laylee when it launched the Kickstarter campaign for the title back in 2015. Created by the minds behind Rare’s 90s hits BanjoKazooie and Donkey Kong Country, Yooka-Laylee has been picked up by publisher Team17 after being succesfully funded with over £2m raised in pledges. Talking to MCV, Playtonic’s MD and creative lead Gavin Price said the team made “a much bigger game” than initially intended but they also designed it for players who aren’t necessarily “time-rich and who [don’t] have a lot of time to spend [playing].” Families are also part of the core target thanks to features such as the co-op and couch multiplayer, Price added.

AT the time of writing, reviews for Yooka-Laylee were still under embargo, but previews were largely positive. Simon Miller wrote for Trusted Reviews that Playtonic has done “such a good job of bringing the concept into the modern day,” adding that “the real joy is how easy it is to play.” He continued: “The sheer amount you can do in each [world] is almost ridiculous.” He further added that it’s “drowning in humour” and “incredibly aware of the nonsense that surrounds the gaming industry.” Rock Paper Shotgun’s Holly Nielsen said YookaLaylee is “like getting into a warm, foamy bath of nostalgia“ and “being let loose in a playground.” She noted though, that “it might take a little getting used to for those who aren’t familiar with the original influences.”

YOOKA-LAYLEE will undoubtedly find an audience, with families being at the top of the list, particularly since family-friendly titles aren’t actually that common. Nintendo fans will be second in line, but many are likely to wait until the Switch release later this year. The difficult task for Playtonic and Team17 will be to convince core PS4 and Xbox One gamers to join the fun. However, Playtonic’s Price told MCV that there are “challenges in the game [that] are very much attuned to a core gamer’s skill level.”



DEVELOPER: Mojo Bones PUBLISHER: Bandai Namco PLATFORM(S): PC PRICE: £15.99 RELEASE DATE: April 11th

DEVELOPER: Digital Eclipse PUBLISHER: Capcom PLATFORM(S): PS4, XO, PC PRICE: £15.99 RELEASE DATE: April 18th

ADVENTURE survival title Impact Winter is launching on Steam in a couple of days. Mojo Bones and Bandai Namco’s game revolves around a group of survivors in the aftermath of an asteroid collision. Gamers play as their leader, Jacob Solomon, as he tries to lead the group to safety after its robot sidekick intercepted a radio transmission saying help will be coming in 30 days.

THIS compilation of Capcom’s Disney NES hits from the 90s includes Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 2, Darkwing Duck, DuckTales, DuckTales 2, and TaleSpin. These remastered versions all feature HD support but also include filtering options that replicate the retro look from the originals. They also offer new modes.

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IT’S the DLC we didn’t know we wanted: there’s now a Power Rangers skin pack available in Minecraft. Alongside this new DLC, developer Mojang released some new features, including more commands, fixed some bugs and launched a new mini-game called Glide, priced at £1.59, that can be played by up to 16 gamers.

04/04/2017 16:14







FORMER Wii U exclusive LEGO City Undercover is landing on PS4, Xbox One and Switch today in a remastered version. Publisher Warner Bros said in a statement released alongside the game’s initial trailer back in January: “LEGO City Undercover features more than 20 unique districts to investigate, filled with car thieves to bust, vehicles to navigate, mischievous aliens to capture, hilarious movie references to discover, lost pigs to rescue and, of course, hundreds of collectibles.”

HAVING already released on Wii U back in 2013, LEGO City Undercover garnered a score of 80 on Metacritic. The typical LEGO humour has, of course, been praised, with The Guardian’s Keith Stuart saying: “The development team has been able to absolutely cram every sequence with irreverent, slapstick humour.” He also noted “lots of graphical and environmental glitches,” ho wever, which hopefully have been fixed in this remastered version. The press also praised the game’s open-world, with Liam Martin from Digital Spy stating: “While some open-world games have been criticised for their lack of mission variety, the use of multiple gameplay styles means that LEGO City Undercover has no such problems.”

WHEN it originally launched on Wii U, LEGO City Undercover debuted at No.12 in the UK weekly charts and topped the Wii U monthly charts. LEGO games are always good sellers, with four of them making it to the UK’s Top 50 in 2016 - LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, LEGO Jurassic World and toys-to-life franchise LEGO Dimensions. The latest LEGO game release, LEGO Worlds, debuted at No.3 in the weekly charts earlier this March and managed an impressive No.2 for its second week in the charts with sales only decreasing 34 per cent. Much like its predecessors, LEGO City Undercover is likely to sell very well on all platforms, and will be the first LEGO title to hit the Switch.



Warner Bros’ LEGO City Undercover is hitting shelves today, alongside two new Yo-Kai Watch titles, Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls FORMAT







Maximum Games

01480 359 403

Maximum Games

April 7th ArmaGallant: Decks of Destiny Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition



Gearbox Publishing

01480 359 403

Maximum Games

LEGO City Undercover



Warner Bros

01216 253 388


Yo-Kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits




01753 483700


Yo-Kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls




01753 483700




Team17/Sold Out

0121 506 9585





01216 253 388




Chucklefish/505 Games 0121 506 9585


Dark Souls III: The Fire Fades Edition


Action RPG

Bandai Namco


Syberia 3


Point & click


01462 677 844


The Silver Case


Visual novel

NIS America

020 8664 3485




THQ Nordic

01279 822 822


April 11th Yooka-Laylee April 12th StarBlood Arena April 13th Stardew Valley Collector’s Edition April 21st 0121 506 9585

April 25th Lock’s Quest

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Title Mass Effect: Andromeda Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands LEGO Worlds Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix Grand Theft Auto V Horizon Zero Dawn FIFA 17 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Rocket League Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Forza Horizon 3 Battlefield 1 For Honor Overwatch Minecraft: Xbox Edition 1-2-Switch Watch Dogs 2 Forza Motorsport 5 WWE 2K17 Halo Wars 2 Resident Evil VII: Biohazard Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition Sniper Elite 4 Destiny: The Collection Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege NBA 2K17 Pokémon Sun Mafia III Halo 5: Guardians Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens Tom Clancy’s The Division Hitman: The Complete First Season Just Dance 2017 Minecraft: PlayStation Edition Steep F1 2016 Rare Replay Mario Kart 7 LEGO Marvel Avengers


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


Publisher EA Ubisoft Warner Bros Square Enix Rockstar Sony EA Nintendo 505 Games Activision Microsoft EA Ubisoft Blizzard Microsoft Nintendo Ubisoft Microsoft 2K Games Microsoft Capcom Bethesda Rebellion/Sold Out Activision Blizzard Ubisoft 2K Games Nintendo 2K Games Microsoft Sony Warner Bros Ubisoft Square Enix Ubisoft Sony Ubisoft Codemasters Microsoft Nintendo Warner Bros

EA’S Mass Effect Andromeda remained at No.1 for its second week on shelves, performing similarly to 2010’s Mass Effect 2, which also took two consecutive No.1s at launch, while 2013’s Mass Effect 3 only had one week at the top spot. Sales for the latest iteration in the space franchise were down 78 per cent week-onweek, though. Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands also managed to keep its second place for another week, with sales declining 30 per cent. Meanwhile, Warner Bros’ LEGO Worlds held on to its third spot as well, despite a 28 per cent drop in sales. If the Top Three were the same as the week before, there was a new title at No.4 last week: Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 5.5 Remix. It was actually the only new entry in the Top 40. GfK noted that this is the second Kingdom Hearts PS4 title to release this year, and it performed slightly under January’s Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, which debuted at No.3 in the UK weekly charts. Not much happened in the rest of the Top Ten, apart from an eight per cent growth in sales for FIFA 17 (No.7) and a 12 per cent increase for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (No.10). The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is now definitely and primarily a Switch

title, with 87 per cent of the copies sold on Nintendo’s new platform, against 13 per cent on Wii U last week. BACK IN THE GAME Further down in the charts, Watch Dogs 2 continued to sell very well. After re-entering the Top 40 two weeks ago at No.28, Ubisoft’s title made it to No.17 last week, with sales increasing 81 per cent. The release of a Watch Dogs 2-inspired bundle for Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege on March 21st could explain this sudden boost in sales. Rainbow Six Siege itself was also back in the charts last week at No.25, with sales up 57 per cent. Meanwhile, Destiny: The Collection reentered the listings at No.24 with an impressive 142 per cent boost in sales, likely due to the reveal of Destiny 2 last week. Microsoft’s Halo 5: Guardians also came back in the charts, at No.29, following a 94 per cent increase in sales. STEAM TOP SELLERS On Steam, last-manstanding shooter Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds was No.1 for the second consecutive week, having launched in Early Access on March 23rd, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – GOTY Edition re-entered the Steam charts at No.2 following a drop in price for a few days.

Source: UKIE/GfK Entertainment, Period: Week ending April 1st April 7th 2017

10 11 MCV914 Weekly Charts_V4.indd 1


04/04/2017 17:25


Market Data Sales were down 29 per cent in units and 36 per cent in value last week, due to the lack of new releases


£15m £15m

£16.3m 446,616 units £30m £10m

£7.7m 248,013 units

Week Ending March 11th

Week Ending March 18th

£11m 315,476 units

£7m 224,580 units

Week Ending March 25th

Week Ending April 1st


01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW RE 02 04 03 06 RE RE 05 07




Title The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - GOTY Edition Grand Theft Auto V H1Z1: King of the Hill Nier: Automata Counter Strike: Global Offensive Dying Light: The Following - Enhanced Edition Ark: Survival Evolved Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

01 Publisher CD Projekt Red Rockstar Daybreak Square Enix Valve Techland Studio Wildcard Ubisoft Ubisoft

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Source: Steam, Period: Week ending April 2nd

10 11 MCV914 Weekly Charts_V4.indd 2


MARIO KART 8 DELUXE (SWITCH) Title South Park The Fractured But Whole - Inc Stick of Truth (PS4) Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy (PS4) Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4) Final Fantasy VII (PS4) Days Gone (PS4) God of War (PS4) Official Switch Travel Case South Park The Fractured But Whole - Inc Stick of Truth (XO) Gran Turismo Sport (PS4)

NINTENDO Publisher Ubisoft Activision Rockstar Square Enix Sony Sony Nintendo Ubisoft Sony

April 7th 2017

04/04/2017 17:25



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

LM NEW NEW NEW NEW NEW 02 04 08 NEW 05 01 11 07 12 06 03 NEW 14 15 16 09 NEW NEW 35 18 RE 19 37 21 13 31 20 17 25 30 33 24 39 27 RE



Title Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Horizon Zero Dawn The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Mass Effect: Andromeda LEGO Worlds Grand Theft Auto V FIFA 17 Rocket League 1-2-Switch Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare For Honor Forza Horizon 3 Battlefield 1 Minecraft: Xbox Edition Sniper Elite 4 Resident Evil VII: Biohazard Nier: Automata Overwatch Halo Wars 2 WWE 2K17 Hitman: The Complete First Season Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix Super Bomberman R Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition Forza Motorsport 5 Pokémon Sun Just Dance 2017 Steep Watch Dogs 2 NBA 2K17 Mafia III LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Minecraft: PlayStation Edition Tom Clancy’s The Division Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Fallout 4 Dishonored 2 Pokémon Moon New Super Mario Bros 2



Format Publisher PS4, XO Ubisoft PS4 Sony NS, Wii U Nintendo PS4, XO, PC EA PS4, XO Warner Bros PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Rockstar PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC EA PS4, XO 505 Games NS Nintendo PS4, XO, PC Activision PS4, XO Ubisoft XO Microsoft PS4, XO, PC EA XO, 360 Microsoft PS4, XO Sold Out PS4, XO, PC Capcom PS4 Square Enix PS4, XO, PC Blizzard XO, PC Microsoft/THQ Nordic PS4, XO, PS3, 360 2K Games PS4, XO, PC Square Enix PS4 Square Enix NS Konami PS4 Sony PS4, XO Bethesda XO Microsoft 3DS Nintendo PS4, XO, NS, Wii U, PS3, 360, Wii Ubisoft PS4, XO Ubisoft PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft PS4, XO, PS3, 360 2K Games PS4, XO, PC 2K Games PS4, XO, PS3, 360, Wii U, 3DS, Vita Warner Bros PS4, PS3, Vita Sony PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft PS4, XO, PC Bethesda PS4, XO, PC Bethesda 3DS Nintendo 3DS Nintendo

PREDICTABLY, March has been huge at retail, due to the wealth of new releases hitting shelves last month and, of course, the launch of the Nintendo Switch. Sales were up 47 per cent month-on-month in units and an amazing 71 per cent in value. Year-on-year, however, the market is actually down 2.8 per cent in units and up 2.1 per cent in revenue, as March 2016 saw the launch of Ubisoft’s behemoth Tom Clancy’s The Division. The Top Five for March is entirely composed of new titles, with Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Wildlands taking No.1. As a result, Ubisoft kept its top place in the publisher rankings, in both revenue and units, and developer Ubisoft France stole the No.1 spot to Ubisoft Montreal in the studio charts. PS4-exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn debuted at No.2 and allowed Guerilla Games to take the same spot in the developers charts. Sony also came second in the publisher listings. BATED BREATH The highly-anticipated The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild entered the Top 40 at No.3 with 74 per cent of copies sold on the Switch, and 26 per cent on Wii U. As a result, the Wii U had a higher market share in March compared to February, in both units and value. The Switch entered the

format charts straight at No.3, with 12.1 per cent of the March sales going to Nintendo’s new console in terms of revenue, and 8.2 per cent in units. 1-2-Switch and Super Bomberman R, which debuted respectively at No.9 and No.23, are also to be thanked for this result, of course. Consequently, Xbox One’s market share decreased significantly compared to February, while the PS4’s share remained stable, thanks to good performances from its two exclusives Horizon Zero Dawn and Nier: Automata. UPS AND DOWNS Meanwhile, EA’s Mass Effect: Andromeda debuted at No.4, putting BioWare at No.4 in the studio charts. Warner Bros’ LEGO Worlds entered the charts at No.5. Other new entries last month included Square Enix titles Nier: Automata, which debuted at No.17, and Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix. Impressively, the latter entered the monthly charts at No.22 despite only being out for a day when GfK closed its report for March. Elsewhere, after debuting at No.10 in February, Nioh dropped out of March’s Top 40 altogether. February’s No.1, Ubisoft’s For Honor, also suffered a 73 per cent drop in sales, placing it at No.11.

Source: UKIE/GfK Entertainment, Period: February 26th to April 1st April 7th 2017

12 13 MCV914 Monthly Charts V5.indd 1


04/04/2017 16:15



01 TM 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LM RE 14 RE 10 01 04 RE 07 02



Developer Guerilla Games Nintendo BioWare Traveller’s Tales Ubisoft Montreal Rockstar North EA Canada Infinity Ward Capcom

Parent company Sony Nintendo Electronic Arts Warner Bros Ubisoft Take-Two Electronic Arts Activision Blizzard Capcom

TM 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Title FIFA 17 Grand Theft Auto V Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Battlefield 1 Ark: Survival Evolved Call of Duty: Black Ops III FIFA 16 For Honor Destiny Overwatch

Source: GfK Entertainment, Period: February 26th to April 1st


01 TM 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LM 07 06 02 RE 03 08 05 09 04

UBISOFT Publisher Sony Computer Entertainment Nintendo Electronic Arts Warner Bros Interactive Take-Two Microsoft Activision Blizzard Square Enix Europe Capcom

01 TM 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LM 06 04 02 09 03 08 05 10 RE

UBISOFT Publisher Sony Computer Entertainment Nintendo Electronic Arts Warner Bros Interactive Take-Two Microsoft Activision Blizzard Square Enix Europe 505 Games

12 13 MCV914 Monthly Charts V5.indd 2

Revenue £7.59m £4.15m £3.17m £2.91m £2.27m £1.83m £1.56m £1.54m £1.28m £0.98m

PHYSICAL SOFTWARE SALES BY FORMAT (REVENUE) TM 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11

LM 01 02 NEW 05 03 05 04 07 08 09 10

Title PlayStation 4 Xbox One Nintendo Switch Wii U Nintendo 3DS PC Xbox 360 PlayStation 3 Wii PlayStation Vita Nintendo DS

Manufacturer Sony Microsoft Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo N/A Microsoft Sony Nintendo Sony Nintendo

Market Share 50.7% 28.1% 12.1% 3.4% 3.2% 1% 0.8% 0.5% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0%

Source: UKIE/GfK Entertainment, Period: February 26th to April 1st

PHYSICAL SOFTWARE SALES BY FORMAT (UNITS) TM 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11

LM 01 02 NEW 03 06 04 06 05 08 09 10

Title PlayStation 4 Xbox One Nintendo Switch Nintendo 3DS Wii U Xbox 360 PC PlayStation 3 Wii PlayStation Vita Nintendo DS

Source: UKIE/GfK Entertainment, Period: February 26th to April 1st

Developer EA Canada Rockstar North Infinity Ward EA Dice Studio Wildcard Treyarch EA Canada Ubisoft Montreal Bungie Blizzard Entertainment

Source: SuperData Research, February 2017

Source: UKIE/GfK Entertainment, Period: February 26th to April 1st


Publisher EA Sports Rockstar Games Activision Blizzard Electronic Arts Studio Wildcard Activision Blizzard EA Sports Ubisoft Activision Blizzard Activision Blizzard

Manufacturer Sony Microsoft Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Microsoft N/A Sony Nintendo Sony Nintendo

Market Share 49.3% 30.7% 8.2% 4.3% 3% 1.7% 1.3% 0.9% 0.3% 0.1% 0.1%

Source: UKIE/GfK Entertainment, Period: February 26th to April 1st 13

April 7th 2017

04/04/2017 16:15






TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW 02 RE NEW 03 NEW 05 08 RE 06


Title The Escapists Best Job Simulator 2017 Construction Simulator 2 Scribblenauts Unlimited Ultimate Forest Simulator Terraria Bloons TD 5 HD Football Manager Mobile 2017 Geometry Dash

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Publisher Team17 Vincent Alexander Astragon Entertainment Warner Bros Gluten Free Games 505 Games Ninja Kiwi Sega RobTop Games

LW NEW 05 10 04 06 07 08 03 09

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: March 20th - March 26th


Title Construction Simulator 2 Heads Up! Monopoly Game Surgeon Simulator Bloons TD 5 Plague Inc. Football Manager Mobile 2017 The Escapists Hitman Sniper

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: March 20th - March 26th





TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW 03 04 02 08 07 06 09 RE 10


Title Candy Crush Soda Saga Game of War - Fire Age Roblox Mobile Strike Clash of Clans Gardenscapes - New Acres Gummy Drop! Hay Day Bubble Witch 3 Saga

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Publisher King Machine Zone Roblox Corporation Epic War Supercell Playrix Big Fish Supercell King

LW 02 05 03 07 01 06 08 RE 10

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: March 20th - March 26th


Title Candy Crush Saga Mobile Strike 8 Ball Pool Game of War - Fire Age Clash Royale Clash of Clans Candy Crush Soda Saga Gardenscapes - New Acres WWE SuperCard






Title Word Cookies True Skate Retro Soccer - Arcade Football Game CodyCross: A New Crossword Experience Camper Van Beach Resort Truck Simulator Roblox Super Mario Run Episode – Choose Your Story

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Publisher BitMango True Axis Mobile Gaming Studios Fanatee Play With Games Roblox Corporation Nintendo Voodoo Episode Interactive

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: March 20th - March 26th April 7th 2017

14 MCV914 Mobile Charts V4.indd 1

Publisher King Epic War Machine Zone Supercell Supercell King Playrix 2K

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: Period: March 20th - March 26th


TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Publisher Astragon Entertainment Warner Bros EA Bossa Studios Ninja Kiwi Ndemic Creations Sega Team17 Square Enix

LW 03 01 NEW 04 RE RE NEW NEW 06


Title Ballz BitCity Retro Soccer - Arcade Football Game Word Cookies Snatch - Augmented Reality Treasure Hunt Game Dirt Xtreme Impossible Bottle Flip Power Rangers: Legacy Wars 8 Ball Pool

Publisher Ketchapp NimbleBit Mobile Gaming Studios BitMango Pass the Parcel Deemedya Tastypill nWay

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: March 20th - March 26th 14

04/04/2017 16:15


Š 2017 Rebellion. The Rebellion word and logo, and the SNIPER ELITE words are used as trademarks and may be registered in certain countries. The Sniper Elite Eagle device is used as a trademark. All other trademarks, copyright, company names, logos and other forms of intellectual property belong to their respective owners.

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27/03/2017 10:48


MARGIN MAKERS THIS WEEK: MARIO KART 8 With Mario Kart 8 Deluxe hitting shelves in a few weeks, Marie Dealessandri selects the best merchandise to accompany this key Switch title

MARIO KART 8 DELUXE is launching on the Switch on April 28th, and while it’s essentially a revamped version of the 2014 Wii U title with all of its postrelease DLC included, the title is still one of the most highly anticipated Switch games to release this month. After all, a new-ish Mario Kart game is always a big deal for Nintendo fans and many will be curious to see how it’ll make use of the Switch’s unique features. Talking to MCV earlier this year, Nintendo UK general manager Nicolas Wegnez said: “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is an example of a game that many think they know, but will show how Nintendo Switch offers many new ways to play. On top of adding a revamped Battle Mode, Nintendo


Sponsored by

Switch will allow people the freedom to experience this game in many new fun ways, and will show how the Switch offers something completely different from what has come before the Wii and Wii U.” In addition to the bundled DLC, expect new courses, vehicles

gaming merchandise uk

MARIO KART 8 MAXI POSTER HERE’S a classic 61 x 91 cm poster – the perfect gift to celebrate the release of the new Deluxe Switch version. SRP: £5 Manufacturer: Pyramid International Distributor: Heo UK Contact:

and characters, including Inkling Girl and Inkling Boy from Splatoon, with their respective Amiibo now compatible with the title - which is a good enough reason for retailers to update their shelves with even more Amiibo and Mario Kartrelated merchandise.

CARRERA GO MARIO KART 8 RACING SET THIS racing track bundle includes two karts featuring Mario and Luigi in 1:43 scale. You can buy more vehicles individually, including Yoshi and Toad. SRP: £64.99 Manufacturer: Carrera Distributor: The Hobby Company Contact: 01908 605686

AMIIBO – INKLING GIRL & SAMUS INKLING GIRL and Samus are just two of the numerous Amiibo compatible with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which actually supports most of the Nintendo toys-to-life figurines. SRP: £10.99 Manufacturer: Nintendo Distributor: Open Contact: 01753 483700

April 7th 2017

16 17 MCV914 Margin Makers_V4.indd 1


04/04/2017 16:16

MERCHANDISE GAMES MARIO KART 8 BLACK/GOLD T-SHIRT MARIO KART fans have a lot of T-shirt designs to choose from, including this black and gold one, available from sizes S to XL. SRP: £14.99 Manufacturer: Nintendo Distributor: Open Contact: 01753 483700

NINTENDO SWITCH JOY-CON WHEEL PAIR RELEASING alongside the Deluxe version on April 28th, these steering wheels are a must have for every Mario Kart 8 fan. Joy-Con controllers not included, of course. SRP: £12.99 Manufacturer: Nintendo Distributor: Open Contact: 01753 483700



PRIMA’S updated guide for Mario Kart 8 is the first in a new Nintendo Switch series. Measuring 6” x 9”, it’s a similar size to Switch game boxes. The strategy guide for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe covers everything from track shortcuts to new characters, vehicles and the revamped Battle Mode.

GAMING soundtrack cover band The OneUps has, of course, taken over the music from the original Mario Kart, composed by Soyo Oka. This physical version of The OneUps’ Super Mario Kart Album includes ten tracks, from the title screen music and Battle Mode soundtrack to the Bowser Castle theme and the legendary Rainbow Road track.

SRP: £7.99 Manufacturer: Prima Games Distributor: DK Contact:

SRP: $10 (£8) Manufacturer: Mustin Enterprises Distributor: Fangamer Contact: 

16 17 MCV914 Margin Makers_V4.indd 2


April 7th 2017

04/04/2017 16:16


GAME looks forward to a far more profitable 2017 GAME’s CEO Martyn Gibbs speaks to Seth Barton about the reasons behind the company’s tough 2016 and why 2017 is looking far brighter already


AME recently published its financial results for the six months up to January 28th, including the key Christmas period. We all know that last year was tough for retail, as a number of key titles failed to chart over the key November release period, and more recently Ukie reported that the market for boxed software had fallen by 15.2 per cent in 2016. Black Friday is often named as the bugbear of the November launch window, and there’s no denying that the now established price-cutting event is somewhat inconveniently timed for the boxed games market. GAME CEO Martyn Gibbs is clear on the event: “Black Friday is here to stay, and we need to evolve as an industry around that as a major event,” he says. “I think it’s for the industry to really think about how and when 

19 20 21 MCV914 Game_V5.indd 1

we are releasing titles over the peak period.” That’s a clear call to publishers that the current release schedule isn’t working for retail. And with key titles last year – including Watch Dogs 2, Titanfall 2 and Dishonored 2 – being slashed in price within weeks of launch, it’s hard to argue with. Gibbs did suggest some alternative strategies: “If you launch in the week of Black Friday then there’s no expectation of discount, which Nintendo has done, that can work.” Or alternatively that “the opportunity [exists] for publishers to time titles so that we have a launch period nowhere near peak and then are able to go back to people to sell real volume. Uncharted 4 did well with that.” We suggest that every year we have the same discussions

We’re going to continue to invest in new growth categories, such as Belong, and we’ve got plans to address long-term structural changes in the market. Martyn Gibbs, GAME


about spreading out the release schedule. “Yes, and then we do it again,” he replies. But maybe Black Friday settling in for good will actually be the motivating factor the industry needs to start think creatively about release dates. Could we see the results of that this year? “Potentially, I honestly don’t know on release dates, because I think there’s still a lot to be determined by publishers,” says Gibbs. “But, yes, I would hope that we’re sensible as an industry and take into account Black Friday.” Black Friday can’t take all the blame, though, Gibbs notes: “Physical software sales were soft and there were certain key titles that underperformed, the yearon-year line-up of games wasn’t as strong.” It’s a kind of chicken-and-egg argument whether poor sales then April 7th 2017

04/04/2017 18:08


GAME’s Belong gaming arenas have “surpassed expectations” CEO Martyn Gibbs says

predicated Black Friday price cuts, or whether consumers awaiting Black Friday didn’t buy games they may have otherwise, just to find that they were discounted. It wasn’t just mint software that was hit, either. Ukie reported that pre-owned software sales over the year were also down 3.3 per cent - and Gibbs says that’s a result of poor mint sales. “[Pre-owned] was also challenged, because obviously the pipeline for pre-owned is predicated on a strong mint market. So if you have a softer mint market on key releases, it has a direct knock-on to pre-owned, though it would be unfair to say we’re disappointed with that preowned performance.” MARGIN CALL The failures in boxed software are all the stranger when we consider that the number of installed consoles are impressively high. “We’re still seeing the cycle [being] ahead of the last generation, if you add PS4 and Xbox One together, versus PS3 and Xbox 360 at the same time, we’re still seeing we’re distinctly ahead of that,” Gibbs tells us. However, that increasingly saturated hardware market means that prices are forced down and April 7th 2017

19 20 21 MCV914 Game_V5.indd 2

the margins on PS4 and Xbox One were significantly reduced in 2017. Taking those lower margins out of the equation, GAME’s fall in GTV (Gross Transactional Value) over the year is reduced from 6.9 per cent to just 0.5 per cent. Despite that, hardware isn’t to blame here. A large base of installed devices should have sent software sales soaring to compensate for any drop in hardware profits.

how successful the headset will be in the long run. “It’s all going to depend on content, as much as availability of hardware, from our perspective the line-up of games is looking pretty strong, I think we just need to get consistency of supply,” Gibbs opines.

SUPPLY LINES In fact, the hardware issue was identified and is being mitigated in part by the release of midcycle consoles such as the PS4 Pro - and later this year, Project Scorpio. However, that effect was limited by stock issues with some of last year’s hot new devices. “The market was constrained on stock last year, PS4 Pro was very successful but there wasn’t the stock to satiate the appetite, so we’re just starting to see stock of some of the things we were constrained on over Christmas coming back into the market,” Gibbs explains. The same applies to Sony’s virtual reality headset: “We’re just starting to see stock come back through,” he says and agrees when we suggest that with limited stock to date, it’s hard to judge

We believe the UK market will remain positive in the first half of 2017. Martyn Gibbs, GAME


SWITCHING IT ROUND While some still have their doubts about the commercial viability of this first generation of VR headsets, the comparatively low-tech Switch has shot out the door - gliding on the tailcoats of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Gibbs has no doubt the console will continue to perform, saying the Switch “will be the biggest growth area in retail for 2017.” Though again, stock could be a limiting factor for its success, with Gibbs admitting, “If you tried to buy a Switch from me today, you wouldn’t be able to. “But the great thing from an industry perspective, is that whilst I’m a retailer and want to sell lots of things, I love being in a position where there are more consumers wanting to buy a product than there is product available. It really shows there’s a good appetite building for the Switch console.”

04/04/2017 18:08

GAME FEATURES COSTA DEL MORE WHILE sales in the UK have been problematic, GAME’s Spanish arm has been growing nicely. Martyn Gibbs, GAME CEO, tells us that Gross Transactional Value (GTV) is up 22.1 per cent and profits (in Sterling) are up 9.5 per cent. A very different story to the UK, so what are key differences between the two regions? There are differences in taste for starters, which means a soft year for software in the UK may not directly translate into a soft year elsewhere. Something that our often UK- and US-centric analysis of retail can ignore. Gibbs says: “We saw good growth in FIFA in physical software, we also saw that Pokémon [Sun and Moon], which was very successful in the UK, was mindblowingly successful in Spain. [Conversely] you’ve then got Fallout [4], a pretty good title in Spain but massive in the UK.” We wonder if the competition in the Spanish market is less, but Gibbs points at another factor: “We’ve got a lot of competitors out there. What is interesting is the online percentage of total sales is far less in Spain.” A bigger share for boxed products at retail sounds attractive, so is GAME looking to expand across Europe? With Brexit looming, Gibbs says there are no plans at present for any further expansion: “The UK and Spanish businesses are run as separate businesses, with their own regional suppliers, and most are based outside the EU. They’re both subject to the wider macro economic environment, and the long term impact of Brexit on the market is still unknown.”

Profit in GAME’s Spanish arm was up 9.5 per cent year-on-year

We ask if a mobile device, that takes a cartridge is a better fit for boxed retail? After all, the ability to buy the game and play it there and then is quite an attractive one, while cartridges have a perceived greater value than a disc. “It’s got a different model to Xbox and PlayStation, it’s not got an enormous hard drive, and you won’t be able to download too many games to it. The cartridge format for us as a retailer is great, we’re working very closely with Nintendo on every aspect of the proposition,” Gibbs answers. A STRONG START Switch is a big part of why Gibbs is so upbeat about 2017, but things were looking up even before it launched at the start of March: “In terms of our current trading, the GTV is up 20 per cent in the first seven weeks of the second half.” That figure does include Resident Evil VII but not Horizon Zero Dawn, so there’s plenty more good news to come based on the charts. Gibbs agrees: “We believe the UK market will remain positive in the first half of 2017.” Beyond strong software sales and Switch, there are some big launches later in the year that 

19 20 21 MCV914 Game_V5.indd 3

aren’t part of the usual annual updates, such as Red Dead Redemption 2. Then there’s Project Scorpio, which looks to be a bigger step beyond Xbox One than its PlayStation 4 Pro sparring partner was. Gibbs continues: “Later in the year, we’ve got Xbox’s Project Scorpio, so that’s something for us to really focus upon, and we’re encouraged because there’s a strong slate of titles due to release.” BELONGING IN PC While consoles and console games remain the core business for GAME, the company has shown an impressive ability to diversify beyond that. The tentpole of this expansion is its Belong gaming arenas, which provide dedicated spaces for in-store competitive multiplayer. Riffing off the increasing success of eSports, Gibbs is more than happy with the results so far, both for the arenas, and for the associated stores. “There’s a general uplift across all the arenas. We’ve seen a 14 per cent uplift versus chain just on the core business,” he enthuses. That’s a considerable boost in sales for every store that contains a Belong arena, and a definite

reason to build more – and GAME is, creating 20 more such spaces this year. Gibbs talks about the recentlylaunched Soho store: “It’s fair to say that the Belong arena has surpassed our expectations, in terms of how quickly people have come to know it’s there and are participating. At its peak, we’ve had a couple of events where we’ve had 60-70 people downstairs. We’re really pleased with that, we’re still in the infancy 21

with Belong, but [the Wardour Street team] there have really aided our thinking in what, when, how and why from a gaming perspective.” Building a community in a physical location and engaging their particular tastes isn’t something you can force to a universal plan, and Gibbs agrees: “If you look at some of the initiatives the arena manager has put into place, [relations with] local universities, bringing in local celebrities, such as Grime artists, he has real autonomy in terms of what is right for his community.” While the arena is equipped with PS4 and Xbox One consoles, it’s the PC rigs that really work with the overall strategy. “In terms of the broader story at Wardour Street we’re seeing a real upside in terms of PC hardware sales,” Gibbs tells us. That’s mainly been peripherals for now, but GAME has moved towards whole PC systems, too. “We’re in the real infancy again,” says Gibbs. “It was only really our Manchester Trafford store that did the original trial with Overclockers, but what we’ve learned is that we have a right-to-play where we have a Belong arena, we’re relevant and credible to PC gamers, so we’re just rolling that out beside Belong, which is PC hardware, PC accessories and our PC digital offer.” GAME ON With profits up in Spain as well, (see ‘Costa Del More’, left), and a short lease strategy allowing for flexibility in its bricks and mortar outlets, GAME looks to be not only on a sound footing but also looking forward to a very bright 2017. 2016 wasn’t great, but the company clearly understands why and is taking what action it can to alleviate those issues over the peak season this year. Gibbs concludes: “We’re going to continue to innovate and invest in new growth categories, such as Belong, and I think in summary we have a clear strategy. We’ve got plans to address long-term structural changes in the games market, and we remain confident that we’re well positioned to capitalise on those opportunities ahead.” April 7th 2017

04/04/2017 18:08


JUNE 13-15, 2017 | LOS ANGELES

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04/04/2017 12:24


Doing justice to Dredd 2000 AD remains Britain’s greatest comic with a stellar line-up of characters, and now Rebellion is letting anyone play with its toys. Seth Barton reports


000 AD recently hit its 40th anniversary and is still going strong. Judge Dredd continues to lead the charge and arguably remains the most recognisable British-created comic book character - Dennis the Menace aside, as he’s hardly an obvious draw for core gamers. Behind him is a slew of popular characters with dedicated fanbases. Best of all, practically all of them are perfect gaming fodder. After all, there’s barely a game industry veteran in the country that hasn’t been influenced by the publication over the years. Now, for the first time, 2000 AD owner Rebellion has put out an open call for licensees on its wealth of intellectual property. So if you’ve always had a great idea for a 2000 AD-related game, or even if you’ve just got a great game idea that you’ve never quite found a character for, then Rebellion is now open for pitches.

GOING ROGUE We head to Oxford to see Rebellion co-founder Jason Kingsley. Appropriately, the game developer has owned 2000 AD since the year 2000. Jason, along with co-founder and brother Chris Kingsley, have something of a gut approach to business acquisitions. They bought 2000 AD largely because they thought it was cool, which it certainly is. Jason Kingsley is very proud of the publication, but he says telling people about it can be difficult: “I often tell people ‘I bought 2000 AD’ and they say, ‘Yes I bought it on Saturday as well’...” With the publication (and all of its various spin-offs) run from the same giant office space that contains the company’s development and publishing talent, 2000 AD is in something of a unique position as a licensing opportunity. It’s owned by games 

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We’re open to approaches from an individual that wants to make a micro game based on a tiny piece of intellectual property, up to somebody who wants to take Judge Dredd and make an open world city roaming game. Jason Kingsley, Rebellion

developers and surrounded by games developers, it knows games already. OPENING UP So why isn’t the Sniper Elite and Battlezone VR developer making 2000 AD games itself? It’s had a stab before, but without any great success, though it’s currently remaking 2006’s really-rathergood Rogue Trooper in a Redux release for PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. “We wanted to do more 2000 AD games and I said to the team here ‘Let’s find some people to do some more 2000 AD’,” starts Kingsley. “And IT would say we haven’t got more space in the office. If you want to start hiring more people, we’re going to have to put a mezzanine floor in,” he explains. “So, it was like, ‘Oh that’s really annoying

Judge Dredd remains 2000 AD’s biggest draw, but there’s a huge roster of larger-than-life characters on offer here

April 7th 2017

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because I’d like to see Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper, Nikolai Dante and Strontium Dog... I want to see more games. “It’s really frustrating talking to the fans and repeating myself. It’s ridiculous, we’re still not going to have anything - we’ve got Rogue Trooper: Redux so that’s something - but there’s a ton of things, and I wondered if other people will be interested in playing with the toys we’ve got.” FUTURE SHOCK Kingsley has an open mind on the kind of pitches they will receive, from tiny mobile games, right up to fully-fledged triple-A monsters. “We’re open to approaches from an individual that wants to make a micro game based on a tiny piece of intellectual property, up to somebody who want to take Judge Dredd and make an open world city roaming game.” And approaches are already coming in: “We’re in very early stages of it, but we’ve already had a surprising number of approaches from big and small,” he tells us. “I was quite frankly very surprised by the vast number of people who thought they couldn’t play in the 2000 AD sandbox and have now said, ‘Oh brilliant, can we have a go?’” And they’re not looking for a huge amount of time and effort to put into the initial pitch: “It doesn’t need to be too much, we don’t want you to put a demo together, spend tons of money on it, just give us a one-pager,” he enthuses. “We’re developers, we get it if you say you want to a game a bit like Grand Theft Auto but using Strontium Dog, we kind of get that, we don’t need more than that.” He continues: “We don’t mind the scale of the game, it can be a small free-to-play game, or it can be a massive, traditional triple-A if anyone wants to look at that.” He gives some examples: “One of the ideas I thought about when I talked at the 40th anniversary was Helltrekkers. It’s a subsection, a group of citizens who decide they’ve had enough of life in the big meg and they purchase these big winnebagos that are all armoured up and they decide to go on a Helltrek [out into Cursed April 7th 2017

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2000 AD may have changed over its 40 year existence, but actionpacked sci-fi stories (with a satirical twist) remain at its core

Earth]. It’s a tiny piece, it doesn’t involve Judge Dredd but it’s Dredd’s world. “That would be a fun game, there are so many bits - mutants in Mega City One, bounty hunters, Zombo the Gentleman Zombie, Absalon hunting The Accord between heaven and hell. There are so many games within these worlds,” he enthuses. Every one of those ideas also comes complete with a huge library of concept art that your developers can slavishly follow or riff off in their own way. CUTTING A DEAL Kingsley sounds flexible when it comes to the kind of deals he hopes to sign, both with developers and publishers: “Let’s do a deal, what works for you?” sums up his approach. “The deal we structure will be variable depending on what they want and what they see

We’re excited to see what developers will be doing with the comic’s properties. Matt Smith, 2000 AD


investing. We’re not saying here’s the deal, take it or leave it,” he stresses. “If you’re a tiny indie then maybe you haven’t got anything upfront to pay, then we’ll work with you and we’ll just take a little bit more at the back end. If you’re going to put a huge game together then we’ll just take a smaller piece of the action.” He’s looking to the future, too, considering sequels from the outset: “If you can construct a deal for both sides that works then hopefully there will be repeat business and you can do more and more together.” Of course, Kingsley has to ensure that the license isn’t being mistreated. “From my perspective, I’ve got to make sure that the people are respectful of the license and do stuff that will appeal to the fans as well as the wider gaming public. “But also the business has to be such that they can make a profit

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Over its 40 year history, 2000 AD has built up an enviable cast of rather odd characters

out of it, and we want to make sure quality control is kept high, so we’re looking for people with good track records, enthusiasm, and realistic expectations.” Rebellion has also got to ensure that there isn’t any overlap between licensees, although the sheer breadth of characters and possible game genres should mitigate that problem. “We’ll try to make sure that each person that takes a license has a chunk of the market, so there’s no overlap,” says Kingsley. We suggest that he wouldn’t want two 2000 AD-related titles in the same genre, even if they used different characters? “Exactly,” Kingsley agrees. “If three people want to do a Helltrekkers game that really can’t work and if two people have a big game that they want to come out in the same quarter, we’d probably say to them, ‘Look can you come out early and them later?’ We’re

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trying to make it so everyone gets a fair bit of the cherry.” PROG-RESSING With pitches already coming into the company, now is certainly the time to get your thinking cap on, with Rebellion’s Matt Jeffery being the main point of contact for these. We ask when the first games based around 2000 AD properties might go on sale? “There might be some smaller games coming out this year, especially in the digital space, but I think bigger games will start to come out, at least a year to 18-months away,” Kingsley says. “The big win for me is to see other people’s interpretation of the 2000 AD world. We’ve had people wanting to do arena fighters Judge Dredd vs Strontium Dog vs Mean Machine - I think there’s space for that but we also want to do pure games. “Hopefully, there’ll be some really good stuff, it’ll probably be

The big win for me is to see other people’s interpretation of the 2000 AD world. Jason Kingsley, Rebellion


a smorgasbord, some zany stuff, some great stuff and some stuff in between,” Kingsley estimates. 2000 AD isn’t an allconquering brand like Marvel, but unlike Marvel the license holder really understands games, has a highly passionate gamingfriendly audience to call upon, and proportionally stands to benefit a lot more from a great Judge Dredd game than Marvel might from a great Iron Man one. We also reckon that 2000 AD’s stars are a little more affordable than Marvel’s mightiest heroes. We leave the last word to 2000 AD’s editor-in-chief, Matt Smith, who enthuses: “Reading 2000 AD is a synapse-frying experience as it is – being able to play and interact with your favourite characters and worlds takes it to a whole new level.We’re hugely excited to see what other developers will be doing with the comic’s properties.” April 7th 2017

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Over a billion hours of play ID@Xbox is getting bigger and better in 2017, so Katharine Byrne sits down with the platform’s EMEA regional lead Agostino Simonetta to discuss how Microsoft’s taking its self-publishing program to the next level

The Sexy Brutale is a groundhog-day styled murder mystery


icrosoft's ID@Xbox program has come a long way since it first started in 2013. While the curated selfpublishing program's first titles included smaller indie games such as Drinkbox Studios' Guacamelee and Nicalis' 1001 Spikes, it's now home to some of the biggest and most ambitious independently developed titles the industry's ever seen, including Tequila Works' beautiful puzzle-adventure game Rime, Sumo Digital's 3D puzzle platformer Snake Pass, Rebellion's Sniper Elite 4 and even a preview version of Studio Wildcard's Ark: Survival Evolved. It signals a huge evolution in the size and scope of ID@Xbox's remit, but for the program's EMEA regional lead Agostino Simonetta, this shift is a reflection of where the industry's heading as a whole, rather than just Xbox striking out on its own. 

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"The entire ecosystem is changing," he tells MCV. "When we started ID, we planned for studios to launch a title and then maybe come back in a year. When we look at the industry today, we have ID@Xbox developers of every size and shape, from Rebellion and MercurySteam to Mad Fellows and Cavalier [Game Studios]. We've also got ID@Xbox partners who are publishing other ID@Xbox developers like Team17, Curve [Digital], Tequila Works and Devolver [Digital], and then you have ID@Xbox titles, going back to Rebellion, self-publishing Sniper Elite 4 in a digital format, but working with Sold Out on the retail version. "More and more we're seeing Koch [Media] and 505 [Games] and EA – they're all traditionally considered the bigger guys, the retail publishers – they're actually publishing content that might

The relationship between developers and publishers today is nothing like it used to be predigital revolution. Agostino Simonetta, ID@Xbox


have started a journey as an ID@Xbox title. So I think we're looking at a very, very different ecosystem to what we had in 2013. It's a good evolution. I think the balance of, call it power, or just the relationship between developers and publishers today, is nothing like it used to be predigital revolution." That being said, even Simonetta's surprised by how much ID@Xbox has grown since it first opened its doors four years ago. As of GDC this year, the program has now launched over 450 titles, with over 1,000 more in active development, and over 2,200 studios in more than 60 countries have received free development kits through the program to work on Xbox content. Perhaps the most revealing statistic, however, is the number of hours Xbox players have spent playing ID titles. April 7th 2017

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FEATURES ID@XBOX RUNNING RIME WITH two free dev kits, no joining fee, great exposure and an excellent support network, the developers MCV spoke to at an ID@Xbox Preview event last week had nothing but praise for Microsoft's selfpublishing program. "I think there's a huge chance here for everybody that isn't a big dev team," says Tequila Works' producer Miguel Paniagua (pictured below), whose studio is currently working on Rime (pictured opposite) but also publishing The Sexy Brutale, on which it worked with UKbased Cavalier Game Studios. "At Tequila Works, we're almost 50 guys, but ID@Xbox is providing anybody starting [out] with the chance of publishing

"We looked at the amount of players – so we had tens of millions of our Xbox and Windows 10 customers – playing ID@Xbox titles over the last 12 months, and they've played over a billion hours, so the level of engagement with ID@Xbox titles is incredible," says Simonetta. "Hundreds of millions of dollars have been generated by the titles in the programme, revenue generated by independent games on our store, so I'm very proud of where we are today." It's not just the number of developers, games or hours played that have been climbing higher since ID@Xbox first started, either, as Simonetta says the ID brand itself has also morphed into its own seal of approval for consumers, something the platform holder hadn't anticipated back in 2013. "Our players love the kind of games that are coming via the ID@Xbox programme, and it is getting more and more consumer recognition as a brand, which I'm April 7th 2017

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their own project at the same level as the biggest teams in the industry. For small and new teams, that's a huge chance. "The relationship we have with the ID team has been amazing. It's very quick communication and it's been great and very helpful, because it was our first time publishing a game and we were kind of lost at the beginning because we didn't know that we had so many things to deal with. But I have to say that the submission process with Microsoft is the easiest one of all [platforms]. We're submitting with PS4, Xbox and Steam, and the easiest and most helpful one is ID@Xbox."

"A game is a game. That's a very strong mantra at Xbox," he says. "It doesn't matter whether you're an ID@Xbox title or you're a title coming from the retail publishers. People need to feel good about the amount of money they spend with the experience they get. I don't think indie should come into that. I've spent plenty of time playing Ark: Survival Evolved, or playing Overcooked – does it really matter that it's an independent game, or that it's published by Ubisoft or EA? It's just about the enjoyment you get out of the product." Microsoft's been making great strides to achieve this goal in the wider Xbox landscape as well. In 2015, the platform holder not only upgraded Xbox One's operating system to Windows 10, but it also launched its Universal Windows Platform (UWP) games initiative, allowing developers to create just one version of their game or app that would work across all Windows 10 devices. Then, last

not sure was the plan originally. I mean, ID was a developer programme, but now in the comments section of Neogaf or Reddit, ID is now a term people recognise, so I think it has proven to be very, very important. "Over the last two or three years, ID has always been present at E3 in one form or another, and we also do a lot of ID@Xbox events, so we have a lot support from throughout the organisation. It's not just the central [Microsoft team], but local offices are very keen to showcase the products as well, so yes, ID is a core part of what Xbox is today." ALL FOR ONE Raising awareness of independent titles is all well and good, but ultimately Simonetta wants to eliminate the boundary between triple-A and independent content altogether, arguing that games should be judged on the experience they provide rather than where they come from. 28

year it undertook what Simonetta calls "a massive engineering task" to merge its Windows and Xbox One stores, creating a one-stop shop for all of its gaming content, regardless of platform. The result is a store where, bar the occasional ID@Xbox-branded sale event, all games are sold on a level playing field, something that makes the ID@Xbox program particularly attractive for smaller dev teams (see 'Cavalry Charge' opposite for more details). "All the games are sold in the same marketplace," Simonetta explains. "[ID@Xbox developers] have the same pipeline that any other publisher has on the platform, they follow the same algorithmic process and they're part of the same promotions. You always find ID games in Games with Gold. We treat games as a game. We don't differentiate. "That's very, very important, because ultimately when we get outside the bubble of the industry, the reality is [people like] my wife.

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FEATURES ID@XBOX PASSING JUDGMENT FOR Sumo Digital, the opportunity to self-publish its 3D puzzle platformer Snake Pass using ID@Xbox was the perfect opportunity to put the studio back on the map: "We just wanted to let people know that we exist," Sumo Digital's designer and PR analyst David Dino (pictured below, left) tells MCV. "From a business perspective, people know [Sumo Digital] makes good titles for lots of different companies, and that we're a safe pair of hands, but in terms of the consumer side, the games that they've probably played, they don't realise we're the ones who made it. "With Snake Pass, it's a very special game and making it our first original IP was pretty important, so we wanted to say, 'We are here, even though we have been here for ages.' Doing

When she looks at the store, she doesn't know whether a title is an independent game or from a big studio. When you get to that point, people don't really know, they just look at the experiences, and they buy them if they think they're going to like them." ANY WHICH WAY Microsoft's journey to "bring all our platforms together under the Windows 10 umbrella" is far from over, though, as Simonetta says this year is all about expanding its UWP platform on Xbox One and developing its Xbox Play Anywhere feature, which allows Xbox One owners to play compatible titles on Windows 10 devices at no extra cost. "[Xbox Play Anywhere] is an initiative we really believe in and we're getting a very, very good response from the development community," says Simonetta. "We're focusing a lot on Xbox and Windows 10 titles [this year] and I'm very excited about what April 7th 2017

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CAVALRY CHARGE FOR smaller developers like the UK-based Cavalier Game Studios, ID@Xbox is an invaluable platform when it comes to support and promotion. "There have been several ID@Xbox events and it's been very useful when Microsoft host it in their area, because obviously anything as an independent studio, all that stuff in terms of time and setup and cost, it all adds up," says Charles Griffiths, founder and design director of Cavalier Games Studios. "Every little moment of development matters, so when Microsoft says, 'We're going to put the game in the ID@Xbox area,' it's great. They put together little badges and promotional things, and it takes out a lot of the stress of setting it all up and doing it. They've hosted a few events and it's obviously very

flattering for us that it's a game Microsoft would like to have. "It's really, really useful, and ID@Xbox has been a great scheme and everyone involved with it has been really approachable, really easy to talk to. Microsoft has also been very open to listening to our queries and finding any of the problems or frictions in the process and addressing them, so it's been very good."


our own self-publishing, trying to get that visibility, it's still work that we have to do, but without the avenue that ID@Xbox has given us in order to get to this place, that's something we wouldn't have been able to do." Snake Pass is also an Xbox Play Anywhere title, which Dino says was another great way to broaden the game's audience: "We wanted to make sure we can get the game to everybody and anybody and if [Xbox Play Anywhere] is an option we can take, then it's really cool to do so. We're glad people who have that option and want to go in that direction can do so. Microsoft has done a good job of attempting to mobilise that process, and obviously working on Unreal Engine 4, with it being so scalable, that almost went hand in hand as something to do."

we're going with it. We went all-in with first parties, but ultimately it's a publishing decision – we don't mandate that. Obviously, this is also the year of Scorpio, so we're doing a lot of work with our developers in that space as well." No matter what shape ID@ Xbox takes in the future, though, Simonetta says he remains committed to making Xbox the best place for developers and publishers alike: "As a platform, independent studios tend to generally have fewer resources than us as a first party, so we feel we have a responsibility to our partners to use our tools and resources to get as much visibility for their products as we can to amplify their message. I always say amplify because ultimately the developers [on ID] are a publisher, so they need to have their marketing and PR strategy. Our responsibility is to work with them to amplify their plans and make our channels available for them."

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04/04/2017 12:25


‘All Uncharted and Tomb Raider fans will love Kate Walker’s latest outing’ With Syberia 3 hitting shelves later this month, 12 years after the last iteration in the series, Marie Dealessandri catches up with Anuman Interactive CEO Stéphane Longeard and marketing exec at UK distributor PQube Anne-Lou Grosbois Favreau to talk about the evolution of the franchise


fter its golden age in the 90s, the point-and-click genre could have easily gone the way of the dodo in the modern games industry. With increasing demand for fast-paced action titles, it seemed like the genre was no longer aligned with players’ expectations. That is, until former LucasArts staff Dan Connors, Kevin Bruner and Troy Molander created Telltale Games in 2004 and managed to almost single-handedly revitalise the entire format. Of course, Telltale wasn’t the only studio to bring point-andclicks back from the brink. Double Fine played its part with 2015’s Kickstarted-title Broken Age, and so have Square Enix and Dontnod with Life is Strange. Thanks to those titles, point-and-clicks now encompass a much broader genre that’s synonymous with adventure and story-driven games.

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The Syberia franchise is part of this trend and has steadily evolved over the past decade alongside the point-and-click’s renaissance. “The first instalment of the Syberia saga, released in 2002, was hailed as an international success,” Stéphane Longeard, CEO of French developer Anuman Interactive, tells MCV. “The second chapter was also critically acclaimed globally when it was released two years later. Over a decade later, we were still receiving messages from fans all over the world asking us a sequel. After several years of discussions, [creator and artistic director] Benoît Sokal and [Anumanowned adventure publishing label] Microids have joined forces again to offer players a brand-new Kate Walker adventure.” Syberia 3 takes place a few weeks after the end of the second opus, with heroine lawyer-turned-

adventurer Kate Walker stuck in the middle of the Siberian steppe in pretty bad shape. However, this brand-new title didn’t come to life without a few setbacks. Originally announced in 2009, Syberia 3 was due to release on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC in 2010, but disappeared from radars until Sokal himself said a year later that work on the title hadn’t even begun. Eventually, a partnership was signed with Anuman Interactive in 2012 with a planned release date in 2015. “To give you all the details, [the original 2009] announcement was made by the previous company who acquired Microids before Anuman Interactive,” Longeard explains. “At this time, they announced a sequel of Syberia but the project had never started at all. Later in 2009, Anuman Interactive bought Microids but Syberia 3 development started in Q3 2013.


“The game is Microids’ greatest ambition so far and seeing the expectations it created 12 years after the release of Syberia 2, we want to deliver the best game experience possible. That’s why the development took some time.” Syberia 3 is now releasing on PS4, Xbox One and PC on April 21st, with a Switch version currently pencilled in for Q4 2017. THE NEXT STEPPE In French-speaking markets, the name of Benoît Sokal is enough to be a strong selling point for Syberia 3, as he’s not only known for his involvement in the games industry through Microids but he’s also as a best-selling comics author and artist. However, in the UK, Syberia remains a niche series, so bringing new players to this third iteration could prove tricky. “We work closely with PQube, our distributor in the UK,” Longeard

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Pictured right, from top to bottom: Anuman’s CEO Stéphane Longeard, PQube’s marketing exec Anne-Lou GrosboisFavreau and Syberia’s creator Benoît Sokal

explains. “We appreciate our collaboration and they know the UK market very well.” PQube’s marketing executive Anne-Lou Grosbois-Favreau continues: “The adventure genre has come back in a big way in recent years. Syberia 3 is poised to be the ideal next step for this new wave of adventure game fans, [as] it brings back the more traditional mechanics of point-and-click gaming from the 90s and early 00s and mixes them with modern technology and 3D environments.” 3D is one of Syberia 3’s biggest evolutions compared to previous entries in the series – and one that proves Anuman understands what players now expect from modern point-and-click titles. “Syberia 3 is the first in the saga to be entirely developed in 3D,” Longeard says. “It was important to retain the authenticity and graphic style of Benoît Sokal that earned the first two Syberia [games] such praise and success. 3D brings Kate Walker more liberty to move in the different environments and other new gameplay mechanics that were not possible before.” Syberia 3 can also be played independently from the first two games: “The story acts as

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also added new languages for the voice-over, including Spanish.”

a standalone chapter in the franchise, so new players needn’t feel that they’ve missed out if they didn’t experience the first two titles – though a comprehensive summary of the plot is included in the opening cutscene,” GrosboisFavreau explains. “However, here in the UK, the Day One PC edition also includes Syberia 1 and 2, enabling all PC players to play through the full trilogy in its entirety should they choose to.“ Longeard adds: “[There are] some references and Easter eggs from Syberia 1 and 2, but the dialogue and NPCs from Syberia 3 will give players all the background information they need.” That said, Longeard still took the decision to delay Syberia 3 in October last year in order to make sure the game was completely accessible to players all around the world. “[We added] new cinematics and background story through optional gameplay,” Longeard says. “We are aware that fans around the world are eager to embody their favourite heroine again, but we needed additional time to provide them with an adventure that can live up to their expectations. We

Syberia 3 is poised to be the ideal next step for this new wave of adventure game fans. Anne-Lou Grosbois-Favreau, PQube


AN UNFORGETTABLE JOURNEY Despite its niche status in the UK, Syberia is still the most popular and successful Microids franchise. With this in mind, Longeard has high expectations for this third iteration of the series. “The total investment for this game is around €8m (£6.8),” he explains. “We expect to sell 1m units in 2017 and reach 2.5m units on all platforms in the next three years. Syberia is a long-seller compared to other game genres.” He also hopes that Syberia 3’s unique gameplay features will help it benefit from a quiet April at retail: “Retailers are enthusiastic, either in the UK or in other territories, because they consider Syberia 3 as very unique compared to other adventure and action games.” Grosbois-Fabreau concludes: “We’re delighted to be able to introduce the series and its mesmerising world to a new generation of gamers across all major platforms – all fans of adventure titles and story-led action epics such as Uncharted and Tomb Raider will fall in love with Kate Walker’s latest outing.”

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APRIL 21ST Š 2017 Anuman Interactive. Developed by Microids. Syberia is a registered trademark belonging to Anuman Interactive SA. All rights reserved.


‘London Games Festival is about promoting the city as a place to do business, work, make and play games’ Michael French, head of games at Games London, tells MCV about this year’s London Games Festival, which launched last week and runs until this Sunday

Why bring the festival back in 2016? This isn’t a return of the old London Games Festival – this is an entirely new festival concept and strategy, [creating] something more akin to London Film Festival, which is to say, London Games Festival is about promoting the city as a place to do business, work, make and play games. Games London, which delivers the Festival, is a joint initiative between Film London and Ukie, and our significant funding from Mayor of London guarantees we can build a programme that supports the games companies here, attracts investors, and provides a major spotlight. Our bigger aim is to make London the games capital of the world. Who is the Games Finance Market targeted at? The Games Finance Market is a core part of our activity around attracting investors and getting money into London. We have 60 games companies signed up to show over 50 investors their concepts and business plans. Our investors are hugely diverse - a much broader mix than any event of this type that has existed. We have a delegation from China, platforms, media funds, VCs that were once reluctant about games but we’ve convinced to take a fresh look, and so on. One third of the companies at this year’s Market are from overseas. There’s a total of £500m in total potential investment, too. As the UK is often accused of being to London-centric – why hold the festival here? A London event doesn’t just help the local sector but is a gateway April 7th 2017

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to the whole country. This is the UK’s capital city, a go-to point for culture and finance with a huge legacy and an enviable prestige, and obviously we should cash in on that global reputation if we want to overall grow the games sector. Also, London is the UK’s biggest games hub – a quarter of UK games firms are here. How will you judge the success of such an eclectic event? The first [way] is attendance. We reached 38,000 people in 2016 and want to reach 50,000 this year. The second is in terms of the investment money we attract to games companies. Third is the economic impact a Festival has on London – a significant event like this has add-on benefits to the economy around tourism and income for venues and transport.

LONDON GAMES FESTIVAL & FRINGE EVENTS More than Just a Game III – Games and Interactive Entertainment Law Stationers’ Hall, Ave Maria Lane, Thursday 6 April to Friday 7 April, 10am-7pm A platform to discuss the legal issues of today’s industry.

How will you improve the festival for 2018? Next year will represent the third year of our first three-year plan. I don’t want to spoil too much, but we have events that will reach a bigger scale when it comes to opportunities for developers and the industry. Some of our existing elements will grow too – and I imagine some of the favourite core events will remain or grow. We also have a very exciting concept for our Trafalgar Square moment which we’re recruiting partners for right now. Personally, I won’t be happy until we’re confident we’ve created something which stands next to the equivalent events that support other cultural and creative industries like film, fashion and design. Thankfully, we’ve got the backing – and the team – to deliver that.

BAFTA Game Awards Tobacco Dock, Thursday 6 April 7pm-2am Shining a spotlight on the very best games of the past year. Horror Lock Loading Bar Stratford, Thursday 6 April, 7pm-2am Play scary games after-hours with prizes and free drinks. GoldenEye Royale Six Yard Box, Elephant & Castle Thursday 6 April, 7pm–12am A casual tournament of fourplayer Goldeneye on the N64.


W.In The Hospital Club, 7 April, 2pm-5pm Networking event for women in games and other creative sectors. Rumpus Islington Metalworks, Friday 7 April, 10pm-6am A retro space-age, hypnotic neon game party. For the Record: Data Discs Loading Bar, Saturday 8 April, 7pm–2am A night of music, visuals, records and gaming. Off the Page: Literature and Games British Library Knowledge Centre Saturday 8 April, 1pm–4pm A free afternoon of talks and demos exploring the relationship between literature and games.

Marioke Scenario, Dalston, Thursday 6 April, 7pm-11pm A night of karaoke classics rewritten for games.

Games Character Parade Meeting at Guildhall Yard, Saturday 8 April, 1pm Join hundreds of games icons on the streets of London for the Games Character Parade.

Now Play This Somerset House, 7 April - 9 April, 10am-6pm Visitors can go hands on with everything from two-player board games to interactive installations, and outdoor activities.

UK eSports gathering Secret Weapon, Saturday 8 April, 5pm-10pm A meet-up for people, players, coaches, casters, managers and community members in the UK competitive gaming scene.

04/04/2017 18:08

rich experiences for brands that entertain CREATIVE / design / digital / motion / LICENSING For information contact Nick Brandum: Fluid Studios, 12 Tenby Street, Birmingham, B1 3AJ, England

+44 [0]121 212 0121



Amiqus Tel: 01925 839 700

Audio Motion Tel: 08701 600 504

Techland Tel: +48 506 688 384

Strawdog Studio Tel: 01332 258 395


Creative Distribution Tel: 0208 664 3456


Axis Animation Tel: 0203 457 0580

Gaming Merchandise Tel: 01562 823 261

Lime Tel: 0844 893 3933

The Digi Monsters Ltd. Tel: 01926 350 141

Dimensional Imaging Tel: 0141 585 6481


Sounding Sweet Tel: 01789 297 453

Dead Good PR Tel: 07780 600 728

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04/04/2017 11:53



ADDRESS: Phone Leamington Spa 01926 350 141


Leamington Spa, UK

THE Digi Monsters are a new art outsource studio bursting with talent, experience and proven triple-A industry expertise, based in Leamington Spa, UK. Recently founded by leading artists from the Activision studio FreeStyleGames, we design, create and deliver outstanding artwork and solutions for games, VR & VFX clients. We have spent years perfecting our craft, delivering a truly broad range of games artwork on huge franchises, for all leading console and mobile platforms. We offer experience and expertise at every point in the pipeline and at any stage of a project cycle from inception, through production to final delivery and marketing. We are also a very friendly bunch, so if you’d like to know more and talk about our work or yours, please do get in touch and say hello. Our services include: Art Direction & Management, Technical Art Direction. Concept. UI. Motion Graphics. Pipelines. 3D Modelling.Characters, Lighting, Look Development, Rigging, Animation, Rendering & Post, Marketing Artwork Our clients include: Activision, Natural Motion, Hutch Games, Sumo Digital, Pixel Toys, Seismic Games, Rocket Lolly, Red9 Consultancy


Games Guide DPS 2017 WEEK 9.indd 2

04/04/2017 11:53


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Advertising: + 61 (0)417 084821


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


40 MCV914 International Distributor Guide_V1.indd 1


04/04/2017 18:19




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41 MCV914 Directory_V1.indd 1

Web: 41

April 7th 2017

04/04/2017 17:00



INSIDER’S GUIDE: Grip Digital CEO Jan Cabuk talks about Grip Digital’s upcoming projects and why he’s cautious about virtual reality What successes have you seen recently? From our perspective, it was definitely the launch of The Solus Project on PC and Xbox One. The game has had a great reception from the community and press and numbers of sold units are pretty solid. We’ve also moved to new offices and our team is still growing, so those are our recent success stories. What are you currently working on? Currently, we are working on two projects. The first is our 3D platformer Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island,

April 7th 2017

42 MCV914 Insiders Guide_V5.indd 1

We wouldn’t say that any particular trend is affecting us right now, but we can see that a lot of studios are focusing on VR and AR these days. We’re a little bit cautious regarding those technologies and we think it still needs some time to earn a decent and important position in the industry.

which is coming out soon. The second project is our frantic, hybrid first-person shooter, Mothergunship. This pits you against hordes of robots as you fight through randomly generated ships with crafted weapons. Crafting is one of the most unique parts of the game, which allows you to create a truly mindboggling arsenal. We are also working on around four unannounced projects at the moment, so stay tuned for more information.

What are you looking forward to in games over the next 12 months? Good games, obviously. The video game industry needs only quality and inspirational titles, so let’s hope we’ll all play a lot them over the next 12 months.

What are the biggest trends in the games industry affecting you right now?


WHO? Specialism: Developer and publisher Location: Prague and Zlín, Czech Republic Contact:

04/04/2017 16:17


OFF THE RECORD FOOL’S ERRAND Despite April Fool’s Day falling on a Saturday this year, games companies and media outlets alike weren’t going to let a day of gags go by unnoticed. The best joke goes to CD Projekt Red, who announced a limited edition figurine of Geralt taking a bath. As it turns out, several fans admitted they’d pay good money for this soapy version of the famed Witcher, so imagine their dismay when the studio had to burst their bubble... Not to be outdone, Square Enix announced Final Fantasy XV: Episode Kenny, in which the mascot of the game’s diner chain goes out on an epic journey to collect the 13 Royal Salmon and become the greatest mascot of all time. Only truly feather-brained fans would be fooled into buying this 1.5bn yen (£10.75m) DLC episode, though. Third prize goes to GameSpot, who cleverly duped us all into thinking that, yes, you really could craft a special key from bits of dragon to pilot a Guardian in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Then again, given you can technically fight Ganon in your pants and get blown up by lightning by carrying metal weapons, we wouldn’t put it past Nintendo if one day this actually made it into a future update.

44 45 46 MCV914 Off The Record_V1.indd 1


April 7th 2017

04/04/2017 19:15


LONDON CALLING The London Games Festival swung into gear this week, though you haven’t missed the half of it yet (see page 36). The opening party was attended by many industry big hitters, plus politicians including MP Matt Hancock (pictured, top right) and deputy mayor for culture Justine Simons. Talulah Riley, Emily Short and Dr Mitu Khandaker-Kokoris (below) are pictured here at the AI Summit, while other panels covered VR and AI vs online harrassment.




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

April 7th 2017

44 45 46 MCV914 Off The Record_V1.indd 2

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.

04/04/2017 19:15


HI-REZZED Gamer Network’s EGX Rezzed was a huge success at the Tobbaco Dock. The sun shone on the brilliant venue and there were tons of great games to play, with the line between indie and publishers being somewhat blurred to the better. Ken Levine (left with cosplayers Hannah Lydia, Songbird and Kizuki) headlined the Developer Sessions to talk about his work to date and his new game.

44 45 46 MCV914 Off The Record_V1.indd 3


April 7th 2017

04/04/2017 19:15


Green Man Gaming Asks...

Do you like your sequels to be a continuation, or do you like them to go off in a new direction? #GMGasks

Each week Green Man Gaming asks the Twitter community what they think about the biggest gaming topics trending today.

Continuations are good, if it’s going off in a new direction I still like references to the original

Depends on the game, Final Fantasy each game is its own, and that is good... others are not so self contained.



All depends on the story, if it’s a good story I’d love it to continue like Dishonored.

Varies on the story. Games like Half Life and Metro with running stories should be continuation.



Depends on the series. I don’t mind a trilogy if the 1st 2 are good but after 3, it needs a new direction.

It is heavily dependent on the quality and resolution of the original. Prime examples being Nier vs. Kingdom Hearts.



Tag your reply with #GMGasks to have your say!

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44 45 46 MCV914 Off The Record_V1.indd 4

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Emerson Studios, 4th Floor 4-8 Emerson Street London, SE1 9DU Newbay specialises in trade-dedicated print and digital publishing for entertainment and leisure markets. As well as MCV, Newbay publishes Develop, PCR, ToyNews, Music Week, MI Pro, Audio Pro International and BikeBiz. It also has two online-only brands: Mobile Entertainment, dedicated to the growing mass market smartphone sector, and Licensing. biz, for everyone in the global licensing industry. It also runs a number of events including the MCV Industry Excellence Awards, the London Games Conference and the Games Media Awards.

04/04/2017 19:15



Brought to you by:


SHORTLIST TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON! If you’d like to be there on the night to celebrate ahcievements of women in the UK games industry please register your interest online today: LIMITED SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE Help us shine a light on the contribution of women to the games industry by becoming a sponsor of the event. There are various packages available to suit your needs, contact us today for more information: Charlie Gibbon, Sales Executive +44(0)20 3889 4922 or email:


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