Page 1

MCV 918

Launching Summer 2017!


Call our specialist sales teams 01279 822800 02.06.17

CoverTemplate.indd 2

26/05/2017 11:48

About the game As a man or woman stranded naked, freezing and starving on the shores of a mysterious island called ARK, you must hunt, harvest resources, craft items, grow crops, research technologies and build shelters to withstand the harsh elements. Use your cunning and resources to kill or tame & breed the leviathan dinosaurs and other primeval creatures roaming the land, and team up with or prey on hundreds of other players to survive, dominate‌and escape!

game Features Use cunning strategy and tactics to tame, train, ride and breed the 100+ dinosaurs and other primeval creatures roaming the dynamic, persistent ecosystems across land, sea, air, and even underground. Build your character’s strengths and gain items, skills, and pet creatures. Start a tribe with other players to survive and dominate competing tribes... and ultimately discover ARK’s true purpose. Build a fire or shelter, then craft customisable clothing & armours to help protect against damage and extreme temperatures on your way to unlocking advanced technologies and equipment. Chop down trees and mine metal and other precious resources to build massive multi-leveled structures composed of complex snap-linked parts.

The E3 Issue

02/06/17 Features

Take-Two: digital is booming


Great Britain, Great Opportunities We showcase the best of British in our extensive talent brochure


E3 2017 show guide All you need to know about E3, both at home and in LA


We talk to CEO Strauss Zelnick about its growing digital sales and Red Dead 2’s delay

Facebook: augmented ads


Are you maximising the reach of your ad campaigns? If not, Facebook’s here to help

Mad Catz: What happened?


We look at what went wrong at one of the world’s biggest peripherals brands

Page 5 The Editor • Page 6 On the Radar – the next two weeks • Page 8 Opinion from the industry • Page 52 Big Game releases • Page 56 Sales analysis • Page 58 End Game – community and events June 02 MCV 918 | 03

03_MCV918 Contents_V6.indd 1

31/05/2017 18:31

Coming to Late August 2017

Press Enquiries – James Clements: G A M E S

Trade Enquiries – Robert Stallibrass:

PO Box 586, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX16 6BY

MCV-Ad_ShoppeKeep_May17.indd 1

Tel: +44 (0) 1869 338833

18/05/2017 13:36

“The question is not whether we should let the public into our hallowed halls, but how that is managed.”

TheEditor ALL EYES ON LA Let’s be honest, E3 has more competition than ever. Thankfully, we live in an increasingly games-mad world. There are now so many more events and so many more people attending these events and watching them online. For the dedicated fan, there are big reveals and trailers dropping year round, not just in early June. That said, E3 is still number one, the show that every major news organisation has in its diary. It’s a showcase of the best the industry has to offer, and so it’s a grand opportunity to reach beyond the converted and preach to some fresh blood. This hasn’t been lost on the big publishers, either, whose press conferences are less and less about the people in the room, and more and more about a global streaming audience. That’s why everyone is now fighting for a better ‘prime-time’ slot, resulting in the press conferences spreading across the weekend as everyone tries to maximise their online audience. But while digital is king, there’s now space for more real people, too – or at least we hope there’s space – as the public has been let in on the party for the first time, albeit for a hefty fee. This is a big change in direction for the show, and we feel it’s the right one, too. While video and social media have hugely increased engagement with the gaming public, keeping the flagship event behind closed doors meant it was being left behind as a spectacle, giving the show floor less buzz than comparable industry tentpoles such as Comic Con. Holding the public at arm’s length is a terrible idea for an industry that, by its very nature, is supposed to be interactive. The question, then, is not whether we should let them into our hallowed halls, but how that is managed. Will the public sit happily side-by-side with busy executives, and will they make it hard for some to wander the show floor without being recognised (although this is arguably a problem already)? And will the paying public expect something more than what is currently on offer? E3 hosts the news, it rarely is the news, but this is a pivotal point for the show’s future. It has to keep the industry at large, the exhibitors, the mass media, and now the public, happy. And that’s a lot of balls to keep in the air. We wish the ESA the best of luck, though, and hope you all have a very enjoyable and productive E3. Seth Barton

June 02 MCV 918 | 05

05 MCV918 Leader_V4.indd 1

31/05/2017 17:45


E3 2017 June 13th-15th Once again, the worldwide gaming industry, plus 15,000 fans, will descend on Los Angeles for the 23rd edition of E3. Turn to page 28 for our full event guide, including all the details about press conferences times. But make sure you also check out Geoff Keighley’s E3 Coliseum event on June 13th-14th. This two-day event will have multiple panels, talks and presentations from all the biggest players in the games industry, plus a wide variety of special guests.

EA Play 2017 June 10th-12th

Devolver’s Indie Picnic June 13-15th

In addition to holding its first ever E3 press conference this year, indie publisher Devolver Digital will also be hosting its very own Indie Picnic showcase event in the LA Convention Centre car park across the whole of E3. The public access area will feature its classic Indie Megabooth, an indie arcade by Polycade and carnival games courtesy of Special Reserve Games. Nvidia, Logitech and Alienware will be providing all the hardware.

Returning for its second year, EA’s free Play event kicks off the E3 calendar even earlier this year, starting on Saturday June 10th at the Hollywood Palladium. Over the course of three days, attendees will be able to go hands on with all the publisher’s latest titles, including the new Star Wars Battlefront and Need for Speed. They’ll also have the chance to take part in an all-new broadcast experience designed for fans viewing from around the world.

06 | MCV 918 June 02

06 07 MCV918 On The Radar_V10.indd 1

31/05/2017 19:15

Neon yellow Joy-Cons and Switch battery pack arrive at retail June 16th

To celebrate the launch of Nintendo’s brand-new multiplayer title Arms, which also launches on June 16th, the platform holder is extending its Joy-Con controller range with a brand-new neon yellow offering. These JoyCons only come with black controller straps, so fans will need to purchase individual neon yellow straps to get the complete highlighter look.

Develop: Brighton 2017

Insomnia Ireland June 9th-11th

After its successful debut last year, Insomnia is returning to Ireland next weekend. Taking place at Kilarney’s National Event Centre, Insomnia Ireland will have its usual LAN gaming halls, eSports tournaments and exhibition halls, as well as plenty of special guests and daily Smash Bros, FIFA 17 and Tekken 7 tournaments. Dedicated VR zones will also be on offer, plus loads of Minecraftrelated activities over the course of the three-day show.

July 11th-13th

Nintendo’s also releasing an official Joy-Con AA battery pack on June 16th to extend the 20-odd hour battery life of its Switch controllers. Sadly, the pack doesn’t come with any JoyCons, but buyers will get four AA batteries in the box (two for each Joy-Con pack). Over 2,000 devs will be attending Develop:Brighton next month, to enjoy six different tracks of talks and how-to workshops across three days. Our sister title Develop will host The Develop Awards 2017 alongside the event, celebrating the very best of UK and European games talent.

If you’d like your product, event or upcoming news to appear in On the Radar, email Katharine on kbyrne@


PRE ORDER TOP 5 TW TITLE 01 02 03 04 05


WipEout Omega Collection (PS4) Sony Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy (PS4) Sony Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PS4) Sony WipEout Omega Collection Steelbook Edition (PS4) Sony Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4) Square Enix June 02 MCV 918 | 07

06 07 MCV918 On The Radar_V10.indd 2

31/05/2017 19:15


Joost van Dreunen - CEO, SuperData


Convening anew

in the way that society has come to regard games brings games conference like E3 offers a unique glimpse into the makeup of the industry at large. with it some important ramifications. Where previously the games industry had been considered Like a microcosm in a petri dish you’ll find largely irrelevant in regards to its contribution to a broader many of the elements on a showfloor that also socio-cultural conversation, today we find an active exist out in the wild across the industry. constituency of both game makers and players. The topics that In recent years, one of the more notable shifts has been drive our industry and how it reflects on the world in which it the diversification of the audience. Certainly a growing exists are increasingly complex and require more nuance. number of, shall we say, non-professionals (ie consumers) Do we really expect our sisters, girlfriends, and managed to get their hands on a ticket and wander the daughters to contend with the old-fashioned visualisations hallways looking to play upcoming titles and collect swag. of the female body? If you recall, E3 used to crawl with After a few iterations, E3 has finally become an scantily-clad booth babes. As publishers started to appeal event that is accessible to the general public. And for to a broader, more diverse good reason: most of the audience, these stone-age major shows outside the marketing tactics have begun US – Gamescom, ChinaJoy, The cultural relevance of video to disappear. It is an exciting Tokyo Game Show – are all open to the public. This is games has taken the main stage thing when an industry makes a course correction, even consistent with the broader more so as you can see this popularisation of video games dynamic play out right in front of you. as a form of entertainment. For that reason I’m also excited to observe new After years of steady growth, video games today are initiatives like the E3 Coliseum. This industry deserves, on par with any other entertainment industry. Not only and arguably desperately needs, a broader discourse on the has it grown to a market valued at $117bn (£90bn), but its topics on which it speaks. Hosting for the first time an open cultural relevance has taken the main stage. conversation between professionals, celebrities, and fans is On a daily basis we see people chasing Pokémon, exactly the kind of step you’d expect from an industry that come together to watch their favorite players compete, or is aiming to make the most of its newfound visibility. immerse themselves in virtual reality. Where previously This year promises to be another great year for video games were relegated to people’s basements and its players games. Certainly because of the new titles and hardware regarded as socially devious, today we’ve clearly entered a that will be announced. But perhaps moreso because this new era. year we will see a new kind of E3. One that recognises its Games no longer exist on the fringes and that’s been an new place in the world, and rises to the occasion. important and well-deserved development. But the change

Joost van Dreunen is founder and CEO of SuperData Research. He is a leading expert on interactive entertainment and teaches at the NYU Stern School of Business 08 | MCV 918 June 02

08 09 10 MCV918 Comment_V5.indd 1

31/05/2017 17:15


Stefano Petrullo - Founder, Renaissance PR


Open for business

elcome to E3, Los Angeles, and the biggest Running your own company is never easy, and it’s video games trade show in the world! In even harder to do so in a country now consumed by truth, I’m penning this piece not while uncertainty. It’s no exaggeration to suggest I woke up the basking in the hot, Californian sun, morning after last year’s referendum with a heavy heart: but rather from my house in a typically overcast south the UK has long been one of the most open and tolerant London. For once in my life I won’t be wandering the halls countries on earth, and I hope its withdrawal from the at this year’s expo as I’m currently engaged in a rather European Union – and the passions that move is guilty of bigger adventure: getting married. stirring up – won’t change that. Nevertheless, E3 remains an event I practically called In a climate such as this, nothing is certain for a home for the last two decades – and whether they like it relatively small business such as mine, but we’ll continue or not, a part of me will forever remain in the Los Angeles to reach out to the games press, to put them in the Convention Centre. best possible position to This year’s E3 falls during talk about the games we an interesting and, dare I represent. Transparency, The UK remains a home to some of access, and doing away with say, rather stressful time for many of E3’s British delegates. the brightest and best the games needless jargon are the keys As you read this, the United to good PR. They are also industry has to offer Kingdom has just come lessons our politicians could through its second general learn from when talking to election in three years, and the the public about Brexit. path to Brexit means the way this country operates is set Yes, there are concerns, but I offer an invitation to to change in the months ahead, for better or worse. everyone reading this to take a trip to the UK. Come I’ve been working in public relations in Britain for over and see what we’re still achieving in the worlds of a decade now. I’m an Italian man initially recruited by a development, marketing, PR and sales. Brexit is not German company to do PR in the UK, who spent a large something I’m proud of – either as an Italian or an part of his career toiling for a French publishing giant – adopted Brit – but the UK remains a home to some of the and you can’t get much more European than that. brightest and best the games industry has to offer. These I will forever be grateful for that very first interview people have made a big difference to the games industry that opened the door to this beautiful country, which is as a whole, working hard and signing deals at E3 (and now playing host to the current exciting chapter in my after E3) and I’m confident that, even in adversity, they’ll career. In 2015, I decided to head down a new path and be true to their nature, do the British thing and “keep set up my own company, Renaissance PR. calm and carry on.”

Stefano Petrullo is an award-winning PR professional with over 25 years of experience in planning and implementing full PR campaigns for some of the world’s biggest entertainment brands from indie to triple-A June 02 MCV 918 | 09

08 09 10 MCV918 Comment_V5.indd 2

31/05/2017 17:15


Steve Boxer - Freelance writer


E3 then and now

Surely, Microsoft will dominate the 2017 show thanks oday, E3 seems like the most monolithic of to Project Scorpio, ramming home its message of being institutions, but it wasn’t ever thus. The first one I the first console to provide native 4K output. It will be attended was the second ever, in 1996, and it had interesting to find out whether Scorpio has a snappy a very different cast of major players. I was taken name (odds on Xbox 4K, anyone?), how much it costs out by the long-forgotten 7th Level – the only publisher to (in the 1990s, the likes of the 3DO and Philips CD-i were get Monty Python games into the shops – which turned launched with $700 price-tags) and how Sony reacts; the out to be handy, as I had 7th Level’s owner Bob Ezrin (the already unconvincing PS4 Pro will look even more so in biggest big-shot record producer in Hollywood) to show comparison with Scorpio. me around town. It will be interesting to see what games Microsoft has Unlikely as it may now seem, there were times when we lined up, and look out for a welter of Sony marketing deals thought E3 might fall off the calendar. In 1997 and 1998, it with publishers. Meanwhile, back in 1996, we had VR, but decamped to Atlanta, a truly scary city (and yes, I’ve visited nowadays it actually works properly, and has moved out Compton, Watts and South Central during E3s of yore) of the arcades. Could this which I’ve never felt inclined There were times when we thought year’s E3 be the one in to revisit. Then there was which we finally discover the disastrous Santa Monica E3 might fall off the calendar Facebook’s world-conquering ‘downsizing’ of 2007: attending intentions for Oculus? And will an irresistible, killer VR that, from a journalist’s point of view, would have been game finally emerge? pointless, and 2008’s return to the Convention Center felt One of the very few constants throughout E3’s existence like the show’s death throes. But it came back, and flourished. has been Nintendo, and after the tumbleweed of the Wii U So the apparently rock-like E3 actually waxed, waned years, it’s fabulous to see the Japanese veteran attending with and evolved over the years, and the same is true of the a top-notch console. It’s about time third-party publishers games industry itself. started to back the Switch and, as ever, it will be fascinating In the early years of E3, we’d make a beeline for the to see what first-party games Nintendo has up its sleeve. stands occupied by the likes of Acclaim, Ocean, Eidos, GT Interactive, Domark, US Gold, Gremlin, Broderbund, Back in 1996, I spent my entire working life arguing in The Sunday Times and Daily Telegraph that games Infogrames, Midway and Atari. When the show started, Sony was a young upstart trying to establish itself, while weren’t just for bedroom-bound 13-year-old boys. At Microsoft would inevitably show a new iteration of Flight least nobody who attends E3 in 2017 will have to make Simulator on PC. that tedious point. E3 and the games industry may have In 2017, there will be technology on show which would had their ups and down over the decades, but both have have felt like it belonged to the realm of sci-fi in 1996. progressed immensely.

Steve Boxer is a veteran freelancer who has written about video games since the early 90s. These days he contributes mainly to The Guardian, The New European, Empire, Pocket-lint, Checkpoint and TechRadar. Past outlets include The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Mirror and Edge 10 | MCV 918 June 02

08 09 10 MCV918 Comment_V5.indd 3

31/05/2017 17:15

E e © 1984 Dav El Eli Elit a id d Brab aben & Ian an Bel Bell. Fr ronti ontier er © 199 1993 3 Dav David vi Braben, e Fron en ontier on ier r: First F Enco counte ters te rs © 1995 5 David Da Braben and Elite Dangerous © 1984 - 2017 Frontier Developments Plc. A righ Al All rights right ts reser se ved. e ‘Elite’,, tth he Elite te lo ogo, th the e Elite t Dangerou rous ous logo, logo, ‘Fro ‘ ntie er’ and the Frontier logo are registered trademarks of Frontier Developments plc. Elite Da ange ngerou ou Horizo ous: ons and and Elite Dangerous: Arena are trademarks of Frontier Developments plc. All rights reserved.

Ad Template.indd 1

03/05/2017 15:32


Digital has ‘transformed’ our business The delay of Red Dead Redemption 2 is nothing to worry about, says CEO Strauss Zelnick, as Take-Two’s digital portfolio is stronger than ever. Katharine Byrne reports

12 13 MCV918 Take 2 Interview_V4.indd 1

31/05/2017 17:16

“I think when we have success, it’s in our nature to say: what can we do better?”


or most publishers, the thought of delaying an almost guaranteed Q4 smash until spring the following year would be enough to set them on edge – particularly when it’s one of just three titles currently planned for release that year. Not all publishers are Take-Two, however. Far from being disappointed by the six-month deferral of Red Dead Redemption 2, CEO Strauss Zelnick tells MCV he’s excited for the year ahead despite having what he calls a “rather light frontline release schedule.” “We’re still expecting to have an excellent year, and one where we’re going to generate cashflow from operations about $150m in a year of very significant net sales, so we feel gratified by that,” he says. “It’s only really a six month move, and while we don’t take these things lightly, Rockstar feels more time is required to deliver the excellence that they’re hoping for – the excellence that consumers expect – and we respect their views. It’s a choice that’s occasionally been made in the past, and it’s a choice that’s always paid off.” Paid off is putting it lightly, of course. Four years and over 80m sales later, Take-Two’s other Rockstar juggernaut, Grand Theft Auto V, is still doing huge business for the publisher. As well as contributing to $880.7m (£679.6m) worth of catalogue bookings in fiscal year 2017 – a sum that’s almost 50 per cent of Take-Two’s total for the year ($1.79bn) – Grand Theft Auto V continues to lead the company’s digital bookings as well, with Grand Theft Auto Online being the single-largest contributor to the publisher’s recurring consumer spend in Q4. Indeed, recurring consumer spend grew by 52 per cent last fiscal year, accounting for 57 per cent of all digital bookings ($562.7m of $987.2m), and 32 per cent of Take-Two’s total.

That’s pretty impressive for a title that came out in September 2013, and Zelnick says strengthening Take-Two’s digital offering will be a key focus for the company until Rockstar’s next big hit rolls into town. “We are proud that digital distribution has grown our company,” he says. “We’re very proud that we’ve built a recurring consumer spending business where bookings grew 52 per cent year-over-year. They counted for about 32 per cent of our total bookings, so our business has been transformed. Five years ago, there was no such thing as recurring consumer spend. We were an innovator with Grand Theft Auto IV, and we feel we have been a leader in this space ever since. “Now we have an opportunity to focus on catalogue and focus on recurring consumer spending. We start by trying to delight consumers, so the question is, can we build that engagement? If we can, that engagement will translate into economics.” Despite Grand Theft Auto V’s digital success, however, Zelnick tells us the title’s physical sales are stronger than ever: “For everything except [GTA V’s] PC releases, there’s 25 per cent that was digitally distributed and about 75 per cent was physical. What’s driving [GTA V spending] is that consumers love this title and want more of it.” Take-Two won’t be resting on its laurels while we wait for Red Dead Redemption 2 though, as Zelnick told us he’s always looking for ways to improve: “We’re a pretty self-critical organisation, and I think when we have success, it’s in our nature to say: what can we do better? And for us, doing better means delighting consumers, and when we are successful at doing that, then our results follow, so that’s how to tend we look at the world.”

June 02 MCV 918 | 13

12 13 MCV918 Take 2 Interview_V4.indd 2

31/05/2017 17:16


he games market is always changing and games marketing has always changed with it. But with ever-increasing post-launch revenues, it seems there’s something more symbiotic between the design and content of the games and the campaigns that support them. We sit down with Tarquin Henderson, head of EMEA console gaming sales at Facebook, to discuss how changes in the gaming space have moved the goalposts for publishers, and how they can now best reach consumers via their Facebook campaigns.

AUGMENTED ADVERTISING Ahead of E3, Seth Barton talks to Facebook about how publishers are changing their approach to marketing their games on the platform, and what more they could be doing

14 15 MCV918 Facebook_V4.indd 1

SCALE UP AND ROLL IT OUT There’s no doubting that Facebook has scale, and that encompasses a lot of gamers, as Henderson explains: “Over 800m people play at least one Facebookconnected game every month. If we look at a [gaming] ecosystem of around 2.5bn in a couple of years time, we have quite a big slice of that community playing on or with our platform.” But Henderson isn’t convinced that publishers are making optimum use of that audience; he has a persuasive argument, too. “If you look at one of the biggest trends at present, it’s the shift to digital. So we now have EA announcing that 61 per cent of their sales are digital,” he says. Of course, Ubisoft and Activision have also recently reported similar shifts in their revenues. “And I think that is not being represented in the marketing spend,” he continues. “We’re at a really interesting tipping point, where we see [marketing] teams looking into player value rather than total unit sales. Given our digital and mobile audiences, Facebook and Instagram are really in the sweet spot for that marketing plan.” GOD FRANCHISES Henderson ties this claim into current gaming trends: “One of the other big trends we see is the move to fewer but much bigger franchises. Given the profitability that digital sales, add-ons and post-launch content give, the way we can offer our marketing solutions right through the lifecycle of the campaigns is more important than ever. “We’re seeing brands increasingly moving to an always-on strategy,” he reveals. “Where previously, there would be a tease and then a launch, and then a big ski jump of marketing investment,” he continues. “The publishers that are driving the most value from our platform are those that are really supporting their franchises at each stage,” he adds, a claim that matches up perfectly with the longer-tail, evergreen profitability of games such as FIFA, GTA V and Overwatch.

31/05/2017 17:17

“With fewer games, engagement is critical – and Facebook is one of the best platforms to drive engagement.” “Fundamentally, with fewer games, engagement is critical – and Facebook is one of the best platforms to drive engagement,” he explains. “We have fantastic native targeting tools on our platform. So we can build an offer to publishers of specific targeted blocks that they just can’t get, even in the digital world.” THE LONG GAME And those segments are increasingly diverse, Henderson argues: “Most publishers will only target 18-35 males, who are increasingly hard to get, especially with nonlinear TV and the whole consumption of entertainment changing very quickly. “So one of the most interesting pieces of insight is when we present our proposed segments. For example, targeting female gamers will be part of that, too,” he enthuses. “We can also see there’s huge value on our platform in targeting people, like myself, who are slightly over the age of 40, and who are very deeply engaged in a particular franchise. “If you aggregate the Top Ten, the average age of a franchise last year was over 15 years. So if you start playing when you’re 20 then you’ll be moving out of that [core] targeting range. “Facebook can find these pockets of value, and these pockets are massively scalable because of the massive reach that we have on our platform,” he claims. “I think if you were only to target, as the offline media providers can, with unaggregated broad swathes of media, then you’re missing out on this very lucrative segment.” TARGETED CREATIVE But reaching these more diverse segments isn’t all Facebook is offering. “Another trend is around personalisation of creative. We are working to provide broad targeted segments, with certain attitudes and behaviours that we see overindex against other competitive sets. That means that we publishers can build creative that is more adept for a specific segment.”

It sounds complicated, but boils down to presenting targeted creative to specific segments, and with stunning results: “One early example of this is a project we did with Ghost Recon from Ubisoft, where we built out unique segments for its game and ultimately saw one segment have a 63 per cent higher purchase intent rate, using different creative to introduce the brand’s video ad on Facebook. Once you start to get into those numbers, you can see why you would invest and restructure your internal teams to actually build a digital future.” TRACKING PHYSICAL But Facebook isn’t just obsessing over digital, as it aims to track the effectiveness of its campaigns even on physical sales: “What we’re thinking about now and what we’re working upon is how we can tie specific campaigns to direct sales,” Henderson explains. In short, that means leveraging integrations on console platforms and with the likes of (or Blizzard Launcher if you prefer), to link up Facebook campaigns with real-world, boxed sales. “That technology is available now, and we’re working with various hardware providers to actually plan that out, and that takes us into a very exciting territory and do what we do with mobile games and look at return on investment almost immediately,” Henderson tells us. “In terms of building up that long tail, building up that engagement, publishers can actually look at those players and build-up their lifetime value and obviously increase their marketing budgets for the segments that are interesting for them. “But not only digitally, because once it’s put into a store, whether it’s digitally bought or physically bought it doesn’t matter. We can map that using our platform to a specific Facebook campaign.” That would allow the true value of boxed sales to become more apparent, letting publishers track consumers all the way from a Facebook advert through a boxed sale, to a final DLC or micro-transaction purchase years down the line.

June 02 MCV 918 | 15

14 15 MCV918 Facebook_V4.indd 2

31/05/2017 17:17


Britain Great

Opportunities 16 | MCV 918 June 02

16 17 18 20 21 22 24 25 26 MCV918 Great Britain Great Business_V15.indd 1

31/05/2017 18:16


ello America. This is the one issue of MCV that we distribute in the US every year, so we thought we’d showcase just a few of the brilliant British businesses that you could be working with from across the pond. We have a huge variety of firms here that are all looking for US partners, clients or deals. From media production companies to publishers, merchandisers to PR firms, sales outifits and server providers, plus a lot more. Headlines about the UK have been dominated by Brexit for months now, and while the situation does create some uncertainty, the UK games industry posted record figures last year, with a total consumer spend of £4.33bn. That’s a market that anyone would be mad not to exploit, and you can maximise your revenues by working with local partners that know the country well. The UK is also a leader in exporting creative talent, and with the pound looking a little worse-for-wear right now, that expertise is more affordable than ever before. So take a flick through our brochure of talent and find the right partner for your business. We can vouch for each and every one of them, but we’ve let them describe themselves in their own words.


Attention Seekers is both production company and creative agency, covering live moments, eSports and video production Attention Seekers Attention Seekers delivers live entertainment moments for video games. From live eSports, VOD content, staging press conferences, game launches or fan events, we produce killer entertainment and pioneer new formats for the games industry. Arguably, we have the very best live production team with the formation of the AD+D office in Santa Monica, which has seen us partner with Done+Dusted to revolutionise live moments for the games industry. Combined with our recent exciting global production partnership with BT, this provides significant global capacity to develop, facilitate and distribute content for the gaming industry. Our passion is games and we love to work with studios, publishers and platforms, either through our creative thinking or bringing a brief to life with dynamic productions. Either way, working with Attention Seekers will ensure the very best production standards and the promise to reach the biggest audience possible, wherever and whatever they watch on.

Location: London & Santa Monica Headcount: 25 Key contact: Jason Wiltshire, director +44 203 096 0366 Website: UK: USA:

June 02 MCV 918 | 17

16 17 18 20 21 22 24 25 26 MCV918 Great Britain Great Business_V15.indd 2

31/05/2017 18:16

For over twenty years, full-service communications agency Bastion has been helping publishers and developers grow and thrive

Bastion Since 1992, Bastion has been helping some of the brightest and best talent in the games industry to achieve their commercial goals. We work with major publishers, independent developers and everyone in between. As a mixture of journalists and seasoned agency professionals, we know how to tell your story and get you noticed. From multi-territory PR campaigns through our OneVoice network to social media and content creation, we take the pressure off you, enabling you to focus on your business. We’ve specialised for a number of years in unlocking the vast potential of the European marketplace for American companies, helping to overcome language and regulatory obstacles. Our reporting is transparent, providing you with a total 360-degree view of activity and results in every territory. Let us help make your name in Europe and unlock your real potential in this $14bn market.

Location: London Headcount: 7 Key contact: Dean Barrett, managing director +44 203 841 7660 Website:

We get games seen in the real world – this is coverage from a single announcement, picked up by the FT, BBC, Sky, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post among others.

A boutique licensing agency that specialises in the video game industry, dedicated to delivering intelligent creative collaborations Bits + Pixels Location: London Headcount: 2 Areas of Expertise: We develop and manage commercial and innovative brand extension programs for video game firms, ensuring deeper engagement and far-reaching awareness. Key contact: Sandra Arcan, co-director +44 7889 196113 Website:

Bits + Pixels Agency is Sandra Arcan and Su-Yina Farmer, gaming enthusiasts with a combined 30+ years multi-disciplinary experience in the field. We understand the gaming industry, its hugely passionate fanbase and how they connect with their favourite brands. Simply put, we want to make cool things for great games and great fans. With highly resonating licensing programmes and stand-out brand collaborations, we take brands to new places reaching untapped audiences. Our trend-savvy and creative approach to licensing means we are always looking to keep even the most established brands fresh and exciting, as well as help build the gaming brands of the future. We pride ourselves in complete product and community immersion, ensuring our projects stay true to the brand’s identity and core values. Our roster includes Blizzard Entertainment, Capcom and Ultra Ultra. We are looking to connect with gaming publishers and licensees who share our vision and ambition.

18 | MCV 918 June 02

16 17 18 20 21 22 24 25 26 MCV918 Great Britain Great Business_V15.indd 3

31/05/2017 18:16









Ad Template.indd 1

30/05/2017 14:48

A growing digital publisher looking to widen distribution, seeking promo content partners and unveiling new titles Curve Digital Curve Digital is a leading publisher on PC and console. We offer funding, internal production, PR and marketing support – all designed to help devs do what they do best, while we handle route to market. Partners can choose how much of our services they want to use, and we’ll create a bespoke agreement accordingly. From taking established PC hits onto console (like Thomas Was Alone, Dear Esther and The Flame in the Flood) or original releases such as Human: Fall Flat, Manual Samuel and Hue, we’re passionate about every game we launch. Each release benefits from our expertise for years to come, as we work with a variety of partners to ensure we maximise exposure. Whether your pitch is just a concept on the back of a cigarette packet or you’re fully finished and ready to ship, we can work with you to make sure your game is a success.

Location: London Headcount: 18 Areas of Expertise: Funding, production, sales and marketing Key contact: Stuart Dinsey, chairman +44 207 566 0095

If you have a game and want to get it to market then Funbox Media should be your only choice – we may be small but we make a big splash

Funbox Media Ltd Location: Chesterfield Headcount: 6 Areas of Expertise: Publishing, physical and digital distribution Key contact: Barry Hatch, MD +44 1246 824 782 Website:

Now in our seventh year and with a combined 60 years of industry experience covering publishing, distribution and retail, we have the global network, relationships and inroads to get your product noticed and selling. Over the years we have worked with major licensed brands on all platforms. We have also worked closely with developers and publishers to get their products into territories they previously did not have access to. Our greatest recent successes have been bringing to market the game version of the very successful The Cube TV series. We also brought Myst to the market for 3DS and have worked closely with Games Workshop on bringing some of their strongest brands to market like Space Hulk. We can provide a complete concept to box solution. We’re interested in working with new indie developers who have great original ideas and who want to partner with a company that wants to grow with them in the long term.

20 | MCV 918 June 02

16 17 18 20 21 22 24 25 26 MCV918 Great Britain Great Business_V15.indd 4

31/05/2017 18:16

We are the UK’s only dedicated specialist distributor in official gamingrelated merchandise, with services for retail, brands and licensees Gaming Merchandise UK Location: London Headcount: 6 Areas of Expertise: Officially licensed gaming merchandise, licensed product development, pop-up retail for consumer events Key contact: Luiz Ferreira, founder and director Website:

Established in 2013 to bring cool gaming merchandise to the masses via distribution, retail and consumer events, we work with some of Europe’s leading designers and manufacturers of officially licensed merchandise from clothing to accessories, collectables to strategy guides. We have built a strong reputation for delivering exciting ranges around software launches for our retail partners, as well as building up tangible data of what consumers want from merchandise at some of Europe’s biggest consumer events. We have worked with some of the biggest games publishers on triple-A product launches and have successfully launched and category-managed dedicated merchandise spaces in leading UK outlets. On the consumer event side of the business, we have represented dozens of brands at over 80 events. We have access to some of the most exciting gaming-related merchandise in the UK and Europe, most of which would be perfect for the US market. We are interested in working with US distributors and retailers who might be interested in our ranges, and we can also offer various solutions for brands and ranges looking to launch product into the UK and European markets.

Green Man Gaming is an e-commerce technology company offering a storefront, a community, content and publishing Green Man Gaming Green Man Gaming is a successful e-commerce technology business that combines commerce, community, content and games publishing. Set up in 2009, the award-winning business has become the No.2 official PC digital games retailer in the world. It is an official distributor of PS4, Nintendo, Steam, Uplay and many more PC platform products with a huge catalogue of over 8,000 games that is continually expanding. With millions of passionate gamers visiting the storefront everyday from over 195 countries and a highly engaged and loyal community, Green Man Gaming offers partners a chance to work together to reach a targeted audience of gamers through content, promotions and marketing campaigns. Its community platform and content sites, including the blog and franchise hubs, provide gamers with the latest insights, information and updates all in one place. It currently partners with technology and video game giants such as Intel, Lenovo and Square Enix.

Location: London Headcount: 78 Key contact: Lesley McDiarmid, head of partnerships +44 207 135 2270 Website:

June 02 MCV 918 | 21

16 17 18 20 21 22 24 25 26 MCV918 Great Britain Great Business_V15.indd 5

31/05/2017 18:16

The UK’s biggest independent PR agency specialising in games Indigo Pearl Indigo Pearl is the biggest independent UK PR agency specialising in games and three-time winners of the MCV Award for best agency. We have an excellent reputation stretching back over 20 years and have launched some of the biggest and smallest games in the world – and we can plug you into Europe through our excellent network of agency partners. In addition to the PR side of the agency, we own PXN, which builds and maintains global press websites for some of the biggest publishers in the world including PlayStation, Warner Bros, Ubisoft and Amazon. And when we tasked our developers to make a key delivery solution, they built DXN which can deliver PlayStation, Xbox or PC codes and has been used to distribute Little Nightmares, Injustice 2 and Uncharted 4 to over 55 territories. We pride ourselves on our motto to ‘be nice and work hard,’ so if you like the sound of that, then get in touch.

Location: London Headcount: 10 Areas of Expertise: Public relations including influencer outreach, social media and events, and we build and maintain press sites for some of the biggest publishers in the world Key contact: Caroline Miller, founder and CEO +44 (0)208 964 4545 Website:

An agency for those that don’t do agencies Little Big PR Location: London Headcount: 2 Areas of Expertise: Public relations, influencer outreach, community and social engagement, event management, content marketing, communications strategy Key contact: Gareth Williams, COO +44 7532 774 750 Alex Verrey, CEO +44 7957 204 660 Website:

Too often, you’ll be pitched by the directors and end up working with the publicists. Little Big is here to disrupt the status quo. At Little Big PR, you have two directors whose sole focus is on delivering publicity for its clients without pushing work onto junior staff. Our gravitas among senior press is unrivalled and our ability to place coverage among target outlets is second to none in the UK. But we don’t stop at the UK. We’re a portal to Europe for your games, as our international partners help us spread your message and reach your aims the world over, with dedicated support across the USA, EMEA and APAC. We’ve done this job for some people you might know, including the likes of Mad Catz, Lucid Sound, Square Enix, 2K Games, Crytek, Gearbox, Warner Bros. and more. We don’t just write press releases and send out assets, we do so much more. From creating compelling campaign narratives, to planning and executing focused brand strategies – whether you’re a one man outfit or a 300+ operation, we’re here as the addition to help market your products to press, influencers and consumers.

22 | MCV 918 June 02

16 17 18 20 21 22 24 25 26 MCV918 Great Britain Great Business_V15.indd 6

31/05/2017 18:17

Ad Template.indd 1

24/05/2017 10:58

Game server hosts for large-scale multiplayer titles, offering a single API gateway to a hybrid solution of bare metal affordability and cloud flexibility

Multiplay We provide developers and publishers with access to our global network of bare metal servers, seamlessly blended with the biggest cloud providers such as AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. Our unique hybrid approach enables developers and publishers to benefit from both the affordability of bare metal and the flexibility of cloud. Our orchestration platform does the hard work, taking care of auto scaling on demand and bursting into multiple clouds when required. All this is accessed via a simple API. To date, we have worked with the likes of Respawn Entertainment to successfully launch their triple-A title Titanfall 2, Tripwire Interactive’s hotly-anticipated FPS Killing Floor 2 and, most recently, Ready At Dawn’s multiplayer brawler, Deformers. All launches were seamlessly executed, scaling throughout the launch phase and subsequent peaks and DLC releases. Our unique offering is delivered by our dedicated team of gaming experts and 24/7 live ops support.

Location: Southampton Headcount: 40 Key contact: Paul Manuel, director of digital Matthew Morris, head of sales +44 345 868 1337 Website:

Putting media in the best possible condition to cover your product through simple, integrated, measurable and non-formulaic campaigns

Renaissance PR

ISSUE 124 JULY 2016

Location: Surrey Headcount: 2 Key contact: Stefano Petrullo, founder +44 7828 692 315 Website:

ISSUE 124 JULY 2016 £5.99 yooka-laylee Limited Edition Subscriber Cover

Delivering front cover coverage for an indie game is no mean feat.

Renaissance PR was founded by industry veteran and exjournalist Stefano Petrullo back in May 2015. In just over two years, Renaissance has been able to prove the value and importance of a modern approach to public relations, attracting both UK and international clients from different backgrounds, using a 360 degree approach to media. The passionate, honest approach to both media and clients has secured incredible results, often beating the agreed KPIs. Currently representing AESVI, Daedalic, Edge Case Games, Milestone, Square Enix Collective and Team17, we offer everything from tailored PR campaigns to global product and corporate PR strategy. Recent successes include Team17's global PR launch of Yooka-Laylee and the acclaimed BAFTA winner Overcooked, the UK campaign for free-to-play MOBA Fractured Space from Edge Case Games, as well as The Turing Test from Square Enix Collective.

24 | MCV 918 June 02 PLT124.cover_subs.indd 1

13/05/2016 15:54

16 17 18 20 21 22 24 25 26 MCV918 Great Britain Great Business_V15.indd 7

31/05/2017 18:17

Sold Out helps you become the publisher you’ve always wanted to be – and we’ll help you sell your games worldwide Sold Out Sales & Marketing

Location: London Headcount: 12 Key contact: Josh Garrity, digital content manager +44 203 405 4198 Website:

Sold Out works with co-publishing partners, enabling developers to achieve incredible success internationally. We’re a company that delivers results. Whether it’s a driven sales team, retail distribution, the best marketing and PR, or a partner to guide you through the entire process. Our partners are the star of the show, delivering titles like Yooka-Laylee, Sniper Elite 4, Overcooked, Worms, Zombie Army Trilogy, Planet Coaster, Elite Dangerous and Prison Architect. What we do is help great games achieve their full sales potential with bespoke services that lighten the publishing load, allowing developers to spend more time making outstanding games. We’re already working with the best that Europe has to offer, linking up with our partners internationally to deliver product both digitally and at retail. Sold Out is looking to bring success to even more developers, and the US is a country full to the brim with exciting products and brilliant studios. We’d love to see what you’re working on and demonstrate how Sold Out can add value to your game and to your company’s bottom line.

The UK’s longest serving, award-winning developer and publisher, working with talent the world over to create classic games System 3 System 3 has been in existence since 1982 as Europe’s longest serving publisher and developer, delivering multi-million selling products that have created, shaped and defined genres, from International Karate, The Last Ninja and Myth through to Pinball Arcade, Ferrari Challenge, Putty and Constructor. We’re never afraid and always excited to create products that are built with passion, whether it’s a combat, racing, platformer or RTS title. We partner with some of the world’s most respected developers to help them realise their vision, handling distribution, sales, marketing and PR for all major territories, achieving No.1 status not just in western markets, but also topping the charts on PSN in Japan. We’d love to find new products and help nurture them to market, and we’re able to assist not just product, but companies in achieving their ambitions. Whatever your platform of choice, we have the contacts to ensure consumers see your product, and the skillset to sell it.

Location: London Headcount: 17 Areas of Expertise: With a back catalogue to be proud of, we create games the public love all over the world, and work with new partners to find new audiences Key contact: Mark Cale, CEO Website:

June 02 MCV 918 | 25

16 17 18 20 21 22 24 25 26 MCV918 Great Britain Great Business_V15.indd 8

31/05/2017 18:17

Leading international games label Team17 is looking for passionate developers to help realise their game’s full potential Team17 Digital Founded in 1990, Team17 is a leading international developer and games label that hosts the Worms franchise, Yooka-Laylee, The Escapists, Overcooked and more. Having worked with developers around the world, we have released 14 games on this label and recently announced the twentieth, signing with quirky pinball platformer Yoku’s Island Express. Team17 is also working on The Escapists 2, the follow-up to the award-winning prison escape game which recently celebrated over 4m downloads. Team17 is looking to work with passionate developers to help them realise their game's full potential with a unique, flexible offering of services. Aside from traditional commercial support, what makes Team17 stand out is our ability to utilise our own internal development resources such as QA, code, art, design, audio or our unique incubation programme, which allows devs to work out of Team17’s studio with a dedicated team supporting them.

Location: Wakefield (development studio) Nottingham (commercial office) Headcount: 100 Areas of Expertise: Development, games label, publishing, business development, marketing, PR Key contact: Harley Homewood, senior business development manager Skype: harley.homewood1 Website:

UK’s original YouTubers continue to grow, now with live streaming, full production capability and a shiny, new purpose-built studio The Yogscast Location: Bristol Headcount: 25+ Areas of Expertise: YouTube and Twitch production, management Key contact: Rich Keith Website:

The Yogscast produces the official Xbox UK channel, XboxOn

The Yogscast have been at the forefront of digital video innovation for eight years, growing from two guys chatting while playing games to 30 channels with over 23m subscribers and 100m views a month. No one knows more about how YouTube and Twitch work than we do, and we’ve led the way in creative ways to partner with influencers, from big budget live action spectaculars to working with indie devs. We have also helped a range of third parties create their own content and currently produce and manage Xbox UK’s fastgrowing YouTube channel, XboxOn, which is boasting 300 per cent year-on-year growth. With an expanding list of content creators, plus a new purpose-built studio coming online this month that will massively increase our live streaming and video production capabilities, this is a great time to talk to us about how to reach new audiences that mainstream advertising won’t get to.

26 | MCV 918 June 02

16 17 18 20 21 22 24 25 26 MCV918 Great Britain Great Business_V15.indd 9

31/05/2017 18:17

Meet the team at Bigben’s booth

Hall West #4112

©2017 Published by Bigben Interactive and developed by KT Racing. 2 and ”PlayStation” are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Ø is also a trademark of the same company. All rights reserved. ©2016 Valve Corporation. Steam and the Steam logo are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Valve Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Ad Template.indd 1

30/05/2017 14:49

E3 OF THE D WHEN THERE’S NO MORE ROOM IN HELL, THE DEAD WILL WELCOME TO LOS ANGELES! The Los Angeles Convention Centre has always been a place of peril as well as profit. Attending is something of a survival course: high-pressure meetings, late-late-late-night networking, crossfloor appointment dashes or the grinding endurance test of simply standing and smiling on the stand. But forget everything you think you know about E3, because the show is changing. This year, hordes of gamers will flood the LACC in a relentless human tidal wave. They’re hungry, too. Very hungry, although thankfully not for human flesh. Still, they will stop at nothing to achieve their goals: huge quantities of swag, ‘celebrity’ selfies and five minutes on Super Mario Odyssey. As they largely feed on the most spurious tat and merch, do not get between these newcomers and anything that is being handed out for free. If you’re a well-loved developer, then please wear a disguise on the show floor for your own protection. And to anyone manning Nintendo’s stand this year: good luck and god bless.


Seriously, though, the introduction of another 15,000 people into the LACC could well throw a spanner into the works of your highlyhoned show routine - imagine the queues at Starbucks alone! On the bright side, at least you’ll have an excuse when you miss that all-important meeting due to the sheer weight of numbers on the concourse. Away from the show floor, it should be business as usual. Yes, some of the press conferences have shifted, but the sun will shine, the drinks will pour and the UK press will end up at the Saddle Ranch on Sunset – even if they swear on their mother’s graves that they won’t. Our guide to E3 provides pre-show analysis, tips from UK show veterans and some great places to visit in-and-around town. Plus, if you can’t make it to LA this year, we’ve got you covered with our complete guide to soaking up the show from the UK.

28 | MCV 918 June 02

28 29 30 31 MCV918 E3 Show Guide_V12.indd 1

31/05/2017 18:28

DEAD Pictured leeft: Xxx



In recent years, there have been fewer games coming from the big publishers. Games are designed to be played for longer, to generate income post-release, and most publishers no longer work across all the core genres. That’s a key reason why the ‘crowd-pleasing indie game’ has become such a staple of the E3 press conference. These big tentpole events need lots of content to fill their running times, and with fewer games being released that’s an issue. A brand-new indie (think No Man’s Sky or Rime) is also a genuine breath of fresh air in a franchise-dominated market. Championing more indie titles in the press conferences is a win-win situation, as it can be a meaningful litmus test of their public popularity, and enable meetings between the new studios and established players. It’s a big part of E3’s future in an increasingly digital world.


When is a press conference not a press conference? Strictly speaking, Nintendo doesn’t have an E3 press conference, and yet the ESA still proudly lists the time and date of Nintendo’s Spotlight stream on its E3 press conferences homepage. The having, or not having, of an E3 press conference has been something of a talking point over recent years – one now further complicated by Nintendo’s digital halfway house. Given the exposure around E3 via both the specialist and mass media is immense, maybe we’ll see more virtual press conferences in years to come. Yes, it’s just a stream but label it a press conference and you’ll get a lot more eyeballs. Now, some companies do very well by using partners’ events to promote their products, but even that doesn’t preclude a broader, or more detailed round-up of everything they have on show – and all without the expense and complication of hiring your own venue in LA.


Scorpio’s looking great, but the big question at Microsoft’s press conference will be how much it costs, and how many want to pay that much to play prettier versions of the same games? New hardware is all well and good, but both Scorpio and the Xbox ecosystem as a whole need some big titles to get people excited. We’d feel more confident if we had a few big upcoming exclusives to help focus attention on the box, but right now the Xbox armoury is looking a tad bare. Crackdown 3 had better make an impressive resurrection after years off the radar. Over at Sony, the hardware’s already out, but the PS4 Pro could look outgunned by Scorpio. More pressingly, Sony has to show it’s seriously behind PlayStation VR this year. Showing a couple of must-play titles would be ideal. The real question is whether developers can reorient their non-VR titles to the headset in the way Resident Evil 7 did. With a few more big franchise games boasting VR support for their core modes, the headset June 02 MCV 918 | 29 could really come to life.

28 29 30 31 MCV918 E3 Show Guide_V12.indd 2

31/05/2017 18:28

E3 SURVIVAL GUIDE 2017 Tips, predictions and nonsense for a better convention this year

MUSSO AND FRANK GRILL It’s been there forever. It’s old school dining, great beef and even better for people watching. Alex Verrey – Little Big PR

Caroline Miller - Indigo Pearl

Go somewhere bling for a blow dry on the first day and ask the hairdresser for recommendations. That way you have great show hair and all the latest places to go.

LA OBSERVATORYN A classic GTA V location, packed with period charm and a fantastic view of the endless sprawl of LA. The perfect place to watch the chaos unfold from a safe distance.

Brett Phipps - Trusted Reviews

Appointments will take weeks to fulfil now the show is open to the public. One showgoer is patient zero, chaos ensues, Dead Rising 5 is set in the LA Convention Center.

Garry Williams - Sold Out

The addition of “the public” will add the final nail in the coffin for a show that’s becoming too noisy, expensive and far too hard to navigate.

Alex Verrey - Little Big PR

Scorpio will be seriously impressive; Sony will spoil its fun with a huge list of crowd pleasers including Last of Us 2; Nintendo will surprise with a solid Switch line-up.



Chili is top notch, prices are low, great music and numerous pool tables (comes with resident USA “nut jobs” for our entertainment). Garry Williams – Sold Out

Not to reveal too many of our VIP industry hangouts, there is this one boutique venue that serves blue drinks... and has a mechanical bull. Games PRs often seen wearing underwear over their jeans. Andy Robinson – Playtonic

Mark Robins - Bethesda

Jar Jar Binks to be revealed as a playable character in Star Wars Battlefront II. Also, me crying with excitement at new Kingdom Hearts 3 footage.

AMOEBA MUSIC This iconic record store is worth the trip. Set a few hours aside if you want to browse properly, though. There’s around 250,000 releases in stock, mostly vinyl. Will Freeman – Freelance games journalist

Jason Kingsley - Rebellion

If you don’t have a fixed location, make sure you know where your meetings are so you can avoid jogging back and forth between the two big halls and turning up sweaty.

James Cooke - Argos

Predictions: Project Scorpio to wow, Switch to build on its momentum and maybe a surprise or two from Sony.

Russell Jones - Amazon UK

Prediction: Goldeneye for Switch announced by Nintendo. Steals the show.

Andy Robinson - Playtonic

My prediction? The Wi-Fi won’t work.

VENICE BEACH & SANTA MONICA Rent a bike for an hour and cycle from Santa Monica down the coast to Venice Beach. Finish with a beer at the pier. James Cooke – Argos

THE LA CONVENTION CENTER They may not know how to spell ‘centre’ but the LACC is otherwise a great venue for a great show. It would be pretty secure against the zombie horde, too, if they hadn’t let them in already!

30 | MCV 918 June 02

28 29 30 31 MCV918 E3 Show Guide_V12.indd 3

31/05/2017 18:28



Gaming may be high-tech but we love a bit of nostalgia as much as anyone

Go on Sunday morning as most of LA will still be at church and queue times are small. Just don’t go there hungover, or you might need a spare pair of shoes (speaking from personal experience). Mark Robins – Bethesda

Andy Robinson - Playtonic

A certain video game composer often regales me about the time he jovially yanked a colleague’s trousers down at a Nintendo shindig – the exact moment Shigeru Miyamoto walked in the room, and promptly shuffled back out.

Mark Robins - Bethesda

Crossing paths with Snoop Dogg in the Bethesda booth one year. No words were exchanged, just a mutual head nod of respect to each other.

Alex Verrey - Little Big PR

SURLY GOAT Wednesday Night. Karaoke and the best beer taps in LA. BOOM! Russell Jones – Amazon UK

Co-hosting a crazy Rock Band party at The Mayan in Hollywood and forming a band consisting of UK industry greats (including an ex-MCV editor and my new business partner) then having them play live on stage. Surreal.

THE LOS ANGELES GUN CLUB You’ve shot every imaginable virtual weapon – and that’s just in the last two days – so it’s time to try the real thing. Handguns, shotguns and rifles are available, no experience required! Very handy in the event of a real zombie outbreak.

Garry Williams - Sold Out

Two invites to the Playboy mansion (thanks Ubisoft) and a snapped tendon (not related). All ‘balanced’ around re-signing a major USA distribution deal, and representing some of the finest games launched into the territory.

Brett Phipps - Trusted Reviews

Kojima walking out at the Sony conference with the Billie Jean floor and a woman in front stood up like Aerosmith were performing, devil horn hands aloft, lost her mind.

James Cooke - Argos

This is my seventeenth E3 – all have been exciting. Bill Gates, Muhammad Ali, Pele, Miyamoto – to see all of these people has been an honour and a privilege.

Will Freeman - Freelance games journalist

As a lifelong skateboarder, getting to play the original Tony Hawk game with the real Tony Hawk will always stand out. I let him win, I’m sure.

Stefano Petrullo - Renaissance PR

Either meeting Capt Janeway of USS Voyager fame at the Star Trek Elite Force presentation at the Activision booth or blagging my way into the Playboy mansion for the Psygnosis party.

28 29 30 31 MCV918 E3 Show Guide_V12.indd 4

31/05/2017 18:28

E3 FROM THE UK E3 LOADING… In 2017, the biggest event in the gaming calendar opens its doors to the public for the first time, securing its place as a chance for gamers all over the world to come together to celebrate the art form they love most. As the UK begins to embrace the event, Jack Ridsdale sits down with Jimmy Dance, founder of London’s top gaming pub, The Loading Bar, who will be holding its own E3 viewing parties What will the Loading Bar be organising around E3 this year? We first started doing E3 coverage a couple of years ago with an event we organised with The Guardian, which involved big screens, a DJ and some fun stuff with predictions. Last year we decided to just put it on ourselves, got in a load of pizza and fired up the projectors. That’s what we’ll do again this year. In previous years we wouldn’t bother with the conferences that weren’t on the flagship days, but this year we’ve decided to just show everything because why not? What is the atmosphere like at the E3 viewing parties? The internet is a very cynical place, and experiencing it in a live setting with an audience, you get a much more genuine reaction. People from certain companies showcasing stuff are often in attendance and they can spot the difference to how it plays online versus in the room. In previous years, we’ve done a panel of experts with games industry people, journalists and the like, which we’re in the process of figuring out for this year. There are plenty of things that get said off the record that we can’t really say in a Twitch stream, so that’s an exclusive incentive to come to the bar. It fits the community theme as well to have these people all mixing with the general gamer public. Of course, the flip side is that we live and die by how interesting the conferences are, so when EA dedicates a good hour to American football, people can switch off a bit. Of course, without FIFA and Madden, we wouldn’t get Battlefront.

How do you respond to those that see E3 from that cynical perspective? I’m definitely more on the positive side. What’s changed is how directly these companies have to address their audience as well as the fact a lot of it leaks ahead of time. This year we’ve had more people asking us if we’re doing stuff around E3, so that maybe shows that interest is growing outside the main show. What E3 moments have gotten the biggest reaction? 2015 was a huge year for us streaming it, with the Shenmue 3 reveal which was so unexpected. God of War was big hit last year, too. Then you have things like The Division trailers with the really long intros, where the whole room starts riffing on the trailer and trying to figure out exactly what it was. Do you believe E3 is important for the gaming community? It’s the one time when everyone pays attention to gaming. It’s a nice, condensed point where games come to the forefront, and while the community’s a bit more fractured than it once was, it’s a moment where we can all come together to get this blitz of big news. It sets opinion for the rest of the year, and people who aren’t as in tune with gaming will get the general tone of what’s going on in our world.

32 | MCV 918 June 02

32 33 MCV918 E3 Home or Loading_V5.indd 1

31/05/2017 18:43

THE GAME PLAN ZOMBIE OUTBREAK PUTTING YOU OFF TRAVELLING TO E3 THIS YEAR? THEN GET ALL RESIDENT EVIL WITH OUR GUIDE TO ENJOYING E3 FROM HOME IN THE UK Here’s a handy schedule for catching all of the must-see shows in the UK. The Loading Bar’s Stratford location, Secret Weapon, will be holding viewing parties for all of the keynote presentations (see right) with projectors, snacks and a beer garden if a certain reveal leaves you gasping for air.

If you’re planning on watching the action from home, the conferences can be streamed from various outlets. YouTube hosts the official stream, which is likely to feature panels and commentary from Geoff Keighley’s E3 Coliseum in between conferences, but most publishers will be streaming from their respective Twitch channels as well.



TBC - Devolver Digital 10:00pm - Microsoft


3:00am - Bethesda 6:00pm - PC Gaming Show 9:00pm - Ubisoft


2:00am - Sony 5:00pm - Nintendo Direct

E3 SURVIVAL 101 Dismissed by some as a marketing machine, watching E3 has become a sacred ritual for many gamers. Here, couch-E3 veteran Jack Ridsdale give us his survival guide for the event A few years back, watching E3 from home was a more manageable affair. One solid Monday of hot games news that stretched from the mid-afternoon through to the wee hours of the morning provided a concentrated shot of games hype directly to your veins. This year, however, the top firms have grown a little more savvy to the marketing game and have begun separating their keynotes, meaning that completionists are now looking at strapping in for a four-day long marathon. In previous years, Microsoft generally kicked off proceedings with a solid display of exclusive games, leading into EA’s keynote, whose extensive leanings on sports content left a good chance to squeeze in a quick power nap before it closed out with a bombastic Star Wars Battlefront trailer. This year, these keynotes are swapped, leaving Microsoft a whole night to bask in the glory of the Scorpio reveal before Bethesda, Ubisoft and Sony come out strong on Monday. Sony is often thought of as the ‘headliner’ of E3, bringing in the big hits – the Final Fantasy VII’s, The Shenmue 3’s, The God of War’s – and while these reveals surely thrill and delight, they’re not as tangible as the reliable slates offered by the other firms.

Before you even think about tweeting out your E3 prediction hot-takes, you need a plan of action. Given the cruel timing of Sony’s keynote (2AM over here), you may want to consider booking Tuesday morning off work. If you fall asleep at your desk, your boss may not accept ‘Jak & Daxter 4 got announced’ as a viable excuse – unless, of course, he’s in LA at the event himself, in which case you’ve got a free pass. Yay! For an E3 viewing party, the more the merrier is a safe attitude to have. Having some game-savvy buddies to bounce off when the on-stage banter gets dry is a must, and you can’t beat that collective awe when a truly unexpected announcement drops.

Below: It’s just not as fun celebrating, that big reveal on your own, so get some mates or colleagues round

June 02 MCV 918 | 33

32 33 MCV918 E3 Home or Loading_V5.indd 2

31/05/2017 18:43

survival OF THE

fittest As Ark: Survival Evolved gets ready to leave Early Access, Katharine Byrne speaks with Wildcard Studio’s co-founder Jeremy Stieglitz about its upcoming retail release, which is being distributed in the UK by Exertis

34 | MCV 918 June 02

34 35 36 MCV918 Ark_V3.indd 1

31/05/2017 19:13

Ark’s seen a huge amount of success since it first launched in 2015 – how does the final release differ from the game that released two years ago? While Ark: Survival Evolved today bears the same DNA as the Early Access version which launched two years ago, it’s now a far better running, better-looking, and feature-rich title worthy of providing hundreds – or thousands – of hours of engaging gameplay. Whether you’re a veteran player or a newbie survivor, you’re going to find something exciting and new to discover on the Ark come launch day. Over the last two years we have worked through our roadmap, point by point, to meet all of our goals for the game’s design and content – and far exceeded our original scope in most cases. Also, as an aside, it’s not the final release so much as the 1.0 version, which represents the feature-complete game. Beyond 1.0, we’re planning many updates to come, both in terms of further Arks to explore, creatures to encounter, and additional gameplay features. What were your initial launch plans? We had originally hoped to release after about one year on Early Access, so approximately August 2016. When it became clear that the game was a huge success and player expectations for the title had increased, we correspondingly broadened our own ambitions for the title beyond our original goals, which consequently took more time. This increased feature set includes far more creatures than we originally intended, as well as hundreds more items, structures, and secrets packed into the Ark, as well as a whole extra Ark to explore, called The Center. It’s taken more time, but from our perspective, has been worth the effort to deliver a bigger, better adventure.

What are the marketing challenges of gradually releasing a game over such a long period of time? How did you maintain the game’s momentum? ABC: Always Be Creating. Essentially, continually add major content upgrades to the game, every week or at latest every month. Never let the title go stale by constantly evolving the long-term meta-game with new strategies. For example, the addition of ‘platform saddles’ to enable players to build structures on the backs of dinos completely altered the advanced gameplay, and more recently the addition of a creature that can climb walls literally turns the game upside-down. How did you build such a successful community, and what would you have done if Ark hadn’t taken off in the way it did? If Ark didn’t take off the way it did, we still would have enjoyed developing it all the way through, but probably would not have been quite so ambitious with the game’s ultimate scope and long-term content plans. But thankfully, the community took off at lightningspeed immediately upon launch day. Our tireless, brilliant community management team stays in direct contact with the hardcore playerbase hourly online using social media, from which we derive immense development benefits including game-balance feedback and immediate notification of any critical bugs or exploits. Use of a variety of social media is important too, because players across the various game platforms tend to have different ways of getting in touch with us: Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Steam forums, and our own forums at – all such conversational channels are monitored and highly active.

As large as digital is today, there is still a large segment of players that buy physical games

June 02 MCV 918 | 35

34 35 36 MCV918 Ark_V3.indd 2

31/05/2017 19:13

Wildcard Studio’s co-founder Jeremy Stieglitz

With so much community feedback coming in, how much work actually goes into sorting out and appraising your scorecard system? This is where our community managers and fantastic volunteer test team come into play. When we have a new feature, we tend to first evaluate it internally and then post on our forums for feedback. Finally we consult a volunteer test team of hardcore trusted players, which comprises about 50 people. That feedback is combined into an ultimate scorecard review for how the prospective feature is evaluated. Usually we tend to only evaluate propositions that are likely to succeed, which saves time. We also leave much of the legwork to our internal test team and balance team, who also happen to be our community managers. They are in close contact with core Ark player community, and able to effectively run through the evaluation process. That way, we keep the internal development team focused on content production rather than feature evaluation. With such a strong digital presence already, why did you decide to release at retail at all? As large as digital is today, we believe there is still a large segment of players that buy physical game discs in stores, who very likely have not even heard of Ark yet. And we hope to change that. When there’s been so much buzz around the game for such a long time, are you worried people might be confused by a final release and think this is an old game? There will be some exciting new surprises dropping in the game, specifically on launch day to mix things up, and then we have an aggressive content development and roll-out plan that will keep Ark very interesting in the weeks and months after launch.

How do you plan to maintain the current community post-launch? It’s all about new, exciting challenges: we have content planned which will make use of all the skills players have mastered thus far, and then go further to test their mettle and encourage the development of additional ‘survival gaming’ skills. I think that veteran players who believe they’ve become the ‘ultimate survivor’ will be looking for such experiences. What’s the difference between front-loading updates during Early Access and adding free updates as post-launch DLC? Were you tempted to adopt the DLC path at any point just to get the game out earlier? Thankfully in the case of Ark it’s fairly easy to distinguish what should be DLC versus a free update: if it’s a core feature that should exist on all Arks, then it should be part of the base game as a free update. If it’s a new expansion Ark or a cosmetic, then it potentially could be a DLC. Aside from ensuring that our proprietary Cross-Ark travel system worked with DLC, which allows players to dynamically move their characters and progress between maps and servers, we never found a need to move core features into DLC. In fact, post-launch it’s our intention to continue to freely update the base game with new core features, content, and improvements. With no Game Preview or Early Access program on PlayStation 4, how do you plan to market the final release on this platform? The Xbox One and Steam versions will officially leave Game Preview and Early Access respectively, and become regular retail and digital titles. For PS4, the game will then be clearly denoted as ‘Content Complete 1.0’, rather than ‘Work In Progress’ as it currently indicates on the digital PlayStation Store, and will also see a full physical retail release alongside the Xbox version.

Ark’s Carnotaurus is one of the mediumsized dinosaurs found in the game and will attack players on sight

36 | MCV 918 June 02

34 35 36 MCV918 Ark_V3.indd 3

31/05/2017 19:13

Ad Template.indd 1

30/05/2017 14:50


MAD CATZ? One of the biggest, and longest running, peripherals brands in the world went bankrupt in March. Seth Barton talks to former execs about what went wrong


ad Catz was one of the most recognisable names in games peripherals. Its history stretched right back to 1989 and incorporated other well-known brands such as GameShark, Joytech, Saitek, and Tritton. It sold peripherals for practically every console, including every generation of PlayStation to date. The company also made the popular Fightstick line of controllers with an official licence from Capcom for serious Street Fighter competitors, allowing it to enter the then nascent world of eSports. It sold guitar controllers in huge numbers for Rock Band 3 and even moved into developing games itself. Then in 2016 it all started to come apart. Mad Catz reported huge losses, was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange in March 2017, and ceased operations soon after, filing for bankruptcy and preparing to liquidate its assets. It also looks unlikely that anyone will swoop in to save the brand, either. So what went wrong at Mad Catz?

market and he hired me as a product manager.” He kept this position at Mad Catz after Tritton’s acquisition. Both have since moved on, co-founding LucidSound in 2014, with Von Huben as CEO and Smith as head of product. Neither of them are short of words when it comes to describing their former employers woes. First we ask Von Huben why Mad Catz bought Tritton: “They recognised the importance of the gaming audio market segment. Mad Catz did not have a product offering that could compete against Turtle Beach or Tritton. At the time of acquisition, Tritton was growing rapidly, faster than we could financially support. Mad Catz was to provide all the backend support, including financial and marketing support, worldwide distribution and product development. Shortly after the acquisition, Mad Catz’s strategy changed, leaving me with little to no influence.” Smith recalls some positives, in that he was able to create the industry’s first fully wireless headset for the Xbox 360, but things didn’t feel right from the start: “It’s an odd place in that it’s made up of a lot of great people but had an overall lack of company morale that was never addressed by upper management. You’d expect working for a gaming company to be fun and interesting, but it wasn’t,” he says.

The market will continue onward and Mad Catz is not an indicator of a trend

MEET THE TEAM Chris Von Huben founded audio brand Tritton back in 2000: “Tritton was one of the pioneers of gaming headsets for consoles, along with Turtle Beach,” he recalls. He moved to Mad Catz in 2010 when the peripherals manufacturer acquired the company. Aaron Smith chips in: “I met up with Chris Von Huben around 2007. Tritton had just entered the gaming headset

LOL CATZ Of course, Tritton was only one part of a large company, and one that was making good returns, says Von Huben.

38 | MCV 918 June 02

38 39 40 41 MCV918 Madcatz_V5.indd 1

31/05/2017 17:18

“I think it was 2012 that Mad Catz posted one of, if not its highest earnings report. Stock price was at an alltime high.” But that didn’t last long, he claims: “In my opinion, Mad Catz failed shortly after the acquisition of Tritton and the launch of Rock Band 3. After that point, the executive team led the company to certain disaster with a laundry list of ill-fated decisions.” Von Huben’s list is extensive. The company attempted the distribution of a Jonah Lomu Rugby game in North America, a region with essentially no rugby following. It also developed and published a game called Damage Inc., which “failed miserably.” It then expanded the company to create a new development group called Thunderhawk Studios, whose attempt to create an MMO flight sim game was also “a complete failure,” says Von Huben. Just to mix things up a bit, “utter failure” is the label Von Huben applies to the launch of Mojo, an Android-based gaming system. It also failed to establish a “standard universal compatibility technology for peripherals,” while “mobile gaming accessories that were designed for the mobile market never caught traction.” Understandably, the Tritton-leading Von Huben is also critical of the introduction of Mad Catz branded

gaming headsets. Smith adds: “Tritton was the best-selling brand, consistently making up more than 40 per cent of the revenue, but they continued to put their engineering efforts into the Mad Catz branded Freq line of headsets while killing off the higher-end Tritton headsets.” Von Huben elaborates on the company’s problems: “It wasn’t any one of these failures, but the combination of all of them. Mad Catz was quick to abandon its core business and starve Tritton to near death for high risk opportunities that all failed,” he claims. Smith was confused by the strategy, too: “Mad Catz had an identity crisis. The public perception was that they were the brand that sold the less expensive, lower quality controllers and memory cards. They desperately wanted to become a premium brand by releasing high end and expensive products with the Mad Catz branding on them, but it’s almost impossible to take a brand upmarket. It’s why Toyota created Lexus and Nissan created Infinity.” Top that off with “a huge bet on Rock Band 4 that didn’t pan out and you have the situation we see today,” says Smith. “They tried to redirect focus back to the Tritton brand at the end, but it was too little too late.”

Pictured above: LucidSound’s CEO Chris von Huben and former VP at Mad Catz

June 02 MCV 918 | 39

38 39 40 41 MCV918 Madcatz_V5.indd 2

31/05/2017 17:18

“The traditional console cycle is coming to an end.”

Pictured above: LucidSound’s head of product Aaron Smith and former product manager at Mad Catz

101 USES FOR DEAD CATZ So what are the chances of the Mad Catz brand being picked up by other firms? “Saitek was purchased by Logitech just before Mad Catz closed,” Von Huben says. “Outside of its fightstick business, I think the only other asset left in the Mad Catz portfolio that has any value is the Tritton brand – it still resonates with the gaming audio community. I put a lot of years into building it and would like to see it survive. “However, I suspect that all a buyer would be purchasing is the name and maybe some inventory. I would guess that several of the contract manufacturers that were building the headsets are owed a lot of money for engineering and tooling. If that’s the case, a buyer would have to start with all-new headsets or work out a deal with the factories to buy the tools and engineering separately.” Von Huben is upbeat about the gaming peripherals market though, despite Mad Catz’s collapse. “The market will continue onward and Mad Catz is not an indicator of a trend. 2016 was a lackluster year that might have put the final nail in Mad Catz. Similar to the stock market, I believe the gaming industry may have its peaks and valleys, but it will continue to grow.” Smith agrees: “Mad Catz had a unique situation and the company made a lot of bad decisions. Look at the rise during that same time period of companies such as LucidSound and HyperX in the gaming audio space alone.” Indeed, Von Huben says the gaming audio sector has seen a lot of expansion recently: “Gaming audio has quickly become one of the largest third party accessory

categories,” he states. “But over the past few years, the gaming category has quickly become saturated with competitors offering very little in terms of new technology other than gimmicky RGB lighting.” Smith concurs, but warns that new consoles such as the PS4 Pro and Project Scorpio pose a different kind of challenge to previous generations: “The peripherals market is definitely growing, but in different ways than before. 2016 was a down year across the board for console peripherals, but the PC gaming market has continued to be strong, thanks to the reduced cost of gaming-level processing and graphics components. “The traditional console cycle, where the new version of the console isn’t compatible with the previous versions games and peripherals is coming to an end. We’ve seen the PS4 Pro launch as a more powerful version of the existing platform while maintaining compatibility with existing games and peripherals. As a peripheral manufacturer, this is a double-edged sword. Users won’t need to buy all new peripherals when the new console launches, but it also means that there isn’t a dead year just before a console goes end-of-life. More importantly, it means that consumers can invest in higher quality peripherals, knowing that they’ll be able to use them for years to come. For a premium gaming audio company, such as LucidSound, this is good news.” CLEAR THINKING That moves us neatly onto the pair’s relatively new business venture, with Von Huben being particularly

40 | MCV 918 June 02

38 39 40 41 MCV918 Madcatz_V5.indd 3

31/05/2017 17:18

happy about being back in full charge of his future: “LucidSound is in our fourteenth month of full operations. We have accomplished a lot in a year that was soured by poor industry results. I feel we bring one of the most compelling offerings of gaming audio products to a market segment that is often stale and mundane. We’re optimistic about our future as a boutique brand that has a narrow focus on just audio products. Our biggest challenge has been introducing our brand to the masses. Once people find us, they love us. “While most other gaming headsets focus on chunky plastics, RGB lighting and goofy made-up technologies that do nothing for the consumer, LucidSound brings to market the first hybrid headset designed for gaming but can be used as an everyday headset.” Smith adds: “We wanted to solve two issues we saw with the industry. The first was to create a headset that is easy to use and we believe we accomplished that with our unique and intuitive button and wheel control system. The second was to create a quality headset with an aesthetic and functionality that allows you to use it outside of the living room for music.” So have audio manufacturers solved most of gamers’ audio needs? Are they now largely refining the device? Smith replies: “If you just need to be able to hear the audio and talk on a microphone, then yes, those basic needs are met by most headsets already.” However, he also notes that “with more processing power and new surround algorithms, we can do 3D positional audio where the sound is tied to the objects in the game rather than the static locations of virtual speakers. This type of positional audio is a must for VR realism, but also greatly enhances any form of gaming.” As with Scuf, who we talked to recently, Von Huben is keen to impress the importance of building a community around the product. “It is a huge priority,” he says, “and it was one of our greatest successes at Tritton. “Most of our resources last year were spent on product development. This year we are proactively engaging the community to introduce our brand. The industry and community have responded extremely well to LucidSound but we have just scratched the surface. We are

38 39 40 41 MCV918 Madcatz_V5.indd 4

exhibiting at consumer shows such as PAX, working with streamers on Twitch, and have stepped up our social media efforts.” Smith is keen to talk up the related area of customer service, too: “If a customer ever has an issue with our product, we’re quick to resolve the problem to get the customer back up and running. We’ve seen a lot of praise in customer reviews and on social media about our support.” When we ask about partnerships with other firms, Von Huben says: “First and most important is our engagement with the Xbox team. We now have a licensing agreement in place so LucidSound can bring to market true innovation and first to market gaming audio solutions on the Xbox platform.” The future looks pretty clear, then, for LucidSound, with a narrow focus that looks to be paying dividends already. In that respect, it’s the complete opposite of Mad Catz, a once-great brand that seemingly overstretched itself and fell short.

Pictured below: LucidSound’s LS40 headset launched last January as the flagship product of the then newly created firm

31/05/2017 17:18

Casting a wide


PCGamesN is quickly becoming one of the UK’s biggest PC gaming sites. Katharine Byrne speaks with creative director Tim Edwards and editorial director Joel Gregory about their latest plans for expansion

42 | MCV 918 June 02

42 43 44 MCV918 PC Games_V4.indd 1

31/05/2017 17:44


hat a difference five years makes. When PCGamesN first launched in June 2012, traffic figures were “just dreadful,” creative director Tim Edwards tells MCV. “It was really hard, like, just, incredibly hard,” he says. “We had a pretty good E3, but then the Sunday when you land back home, we were looking at our analytics and we had that sort of clunking realisation that the internet just doesn’t give a shit. It doesn’t care. “Then someone at an agency said to our CEO James Binns very clearly that they don’t really buy websites any more for ads, so we should go and join a network. James being James, he said, ‘I’m not doing that. I’m going to start my own network.’ So we wrangled two or three sites together and went out and sold it as the PC Games Network. It was pretty much the only way PCGamesN could survive, because it meant we’d had a big enough scale where we could make money to invest.” Fast forward to 2017, however, and PCGamesN couldn’t be healthier. As of last month, its parent company Network N had a portfolio of 60 sites to its name, and PCGamesN itself has just hit over 4m monthly visitors, and a headcount totalling 19 members of staff. “The position we’re in now, we only have to double and a bit to be the same size as PC Gamer,” Edwards continues. “I know it’s been herculean for us to get to this point, but you can see the momentum. Generally, media businesses are cutting back on their investment, but I think we’re in a slightly different position because of the network – because of the scale of the orders we get, we will always be able to fill PCGamesN with ads. If we want to keep more of the money, we need to grow PCGamesN. It’s the thing we started the business with, and the thing that people come to us because they believe in it.”

“Another reason why people like buying campaigns from us has been because, at PCGamesN, we use Steam log-in. We have a lot of sites that allow users to do Steam log-ins and that gives us a better way of targeting ads. So if we know someone’s played The Witcher, we can say: ‘We’ve got a load of Witcher people, how would you like to reach those?’ So True Achievements is perfect for that. I think it will work really well.” The relationship with its network partners works both ways, too, as site owners can ask PCGamesN for extra advice on how to improve their own performance. “The speed at which the advertising industry changes and the technology and just ad tech in general for site owners, I’d be bewildered by it,” says Edwards. “We went through the same process, but we’re constantly experimenting to figure out ways to improve what our ads are doing, particularly when it comes to ad blockers, so we’re not like a traditional ads network. We’ve been able to keep a very close relationship where James can be the business dad to some big sites, and quite little sites as well. We have very, very few sites leave us once they’re in. We’re brutally honest and really open about how everything is, and I think the transparency that we give to our sites is unusual in ad networks.”

We’ve consistently flirted with launching a console site, but PC gaming is big enough.

ADDING UP Indeed, PCGamesN and the scope of its network partners is now so large that ad agencies are even coming to the company with campaigns for console titles. “We’ve consistently flirted with launching a console site, but I think PC gaming is big enough,” says Edwards. “Instead, we’ve just signed a site called True Achievements so we can start representing them. We’re gathering up more console sites, too. Because of our scale now, we can choose very precise audiences for particular campaigns. Agencies love that, and it means you might have a niche XCOM site, but that’s pretty handy for advertisers if they’re trying to reach that.

TEAM PLAYERS It’s not just the number of sites in the network that’s expanding, either, as PCGamesN’s recent hires, including Kotaku UK’s Julian Benson and Edge Magazine’s Ben Maxwell, will also allow the team to broaden the scope of its editorial remit. “We’ve got a really talented, really hard working team, but I want us to start doing more pieces that are more ambitious in scope, like investigative news reporting and more deep-dive features,” says editorial director Joel Gregory. “We’ve also got a video team that we’re going to expand, as I want to have more video integrated into stories. “The growth’s been amazing. It’s been a lot of hard work, but I think we’re in a position where the momentum is strong, and if we keep pushing, then there’s no reason why we can’t keep growing at a similar rate over the next couple of years or more.” Edwards agrees, adding that a higher staff count will also give PCGamesN enough resource to tackle additional platforms outside the main site: “The other challenge we face is that we have to be everywhere where games are,”

June 02 MCV 918 | 43

42 43 44 MCV918 PC Games_V4.indd 2

31/05/2017 17:44

Pictured right, from top to bottom: PCGamesN’s editorial director Joel Gregory and creative director Tim Edwards

he says. “Right now, the legacy stuff is the website and you have Twitch, Facebook and YouTube and all the proliferation of platforms and realistically, as a business, we’ll have to be on everything.” Hardware is another area where PCGamesN hopes to make its mark: “There’s a lot of competition out there, especially if you’re looking at search,” says Gregory. “We don’t have a massive hardware team, but with our hardware editor Dave James we’ve got as much expertise as any one else. Around GDC we had an amazing month for hardware coverage. Those things are fleeting though, because they’re seasonal, but just pitching up and doing a good job over and over again is the thing that will grow the user base.” FREE AGENTS With so many resources at its disposal, Network N has also begun doing its own agency work on the side. “We could have done it from day one, but we never replied to the emails,” Edwards laughs. “I’m happy for us to offer out our services now, because we have the resource and scale and headspace to actually think about the problems that are being presented to us.” Gregory agrees: “There was a realisation towards the end of last year that we can say yes to more stuff now, and actually that should be the default position when someone comes to us with something – to figure out how can we do this, rather than say it’s too distracting. As long as it’s not running an eSports event…, he jokes. Events management aside, it’s clear PCGamesN has big ambitions for the future, with Edwards saying we can expect to see even more growth from the company going forward. “I want us to have the biggest collection of PC games sites out there, both in terms of audience and number of sites,” he says. “I would like us to be No.1 or a strong No.2 in PC games generally, and I think that’s pretty achievable. “I just want us to be a really strong business, and if we have a really strong team here, and business continues to grow and maintain itself, we have a load of new agency work, we’re building new products… That’s what I would like. It would be lovely to pin a rosette on ourselves and say we’re number one, but it’s never going to work like that. In five years, I want to still be here.”

“I want us to have the biggest collection of PC games sites out there, both in terms of audience and number of sites.” 44 | MCV 918 June 02

42 43 44 MCV918 PC Games_V4.indd 3

31/05/2017 17:44


J U N E 1 3 - 1 5 , 2 0 1 7 | LO S AN G E L E S

Untitled-1 1

©2017 Entertainment Software Association

Access has been granted. Be there when and where it all starts. Register now at

13/04/2017 09:50:28

A new dawn for Are games magazines dead? Not according to Checkpoint’s founders Steve Boxer and Tamer Asfahani and Loading Bar boss Jimmy Dance, who have both launched new games magazines in just the last few months. Marie Dealessandri talks to both editorial teams to find out more about their alternative approach to games journalism


e’ve been told for ages that magazines aren’t relevant anymore, that the internet is killing print. And yet, despite all the odds, games magazines are still here, fighting against the online invaders. Whether it’s Edge, Retro Gamer, GamesMaster, GamesTM, or even MCV, every one of them has been challenging the idea that print has been dead for years. While it’s true the magazine market isn’t quite what it used to be, there are still people fierce enough to revitalise this supposedly ‘dead’ format and bring new publications to life. Industry veteran Steve Boxer is one of them. Together with Magdoos Media’s director Tamer Asfahani, the pair launched Checkpoint in March, a digital mag that aims to deliver the best of both worlds: the in-depth features of print combined with the interactivity of online. “We realised that there simply weren’t any proper digital games magazines out there that take full advantage of the possibilities of digital publishing such as embedding video and audio, and creating animated covers. So after a lot of general research and saying: ‘We’ve got to do this’, we just went for it,” Checkpoint’s editor-at-large Boxer explains. While Boxer and editor-in-chief Asfahani were busy launching Checkpoint, Jimmy Dance was working on his own project. The owner of the popular Loading gaming bars, which host events for publishers and consumers alike, released the first issue of its free print magazine in mid-May, with Kotaku UK’s Keza MacDonald acting as editor. “Despite doing what we have for seven years now, there are still publishers that will see what we do and respond

46 | MCV 918 June 02

46 47 48 49 MCV918 New Dawn of Magazines_V6.indd 1

31/05/2017 17:19

with ‘but you aren’t traditional press/ media,’” Dance says. “So that game copy we request to demo in the bar to over 1,000 Londoners a week they can’t provide. Out of that frustration I decided if having bars and a magazine works for Vice, why not do something similar. It seemed like a natural extension of what we already do, being able to partner with other brands to promote products. The benefit now is not only can we offer physical space, social media and retail support, but also a presence in print.” This shows print still has a significant impact on brands. With fewer gaming magazines around now than ever before, the ones that do exist are clearly very appealing to companies wishing to promote their products. That said, it’s also a space for articles that wouldn’t necessarily find their place online, Dance adds: “With the wealth of sites online, I just didn’t see what we could add to that space, whereas with the print side I knew I could bring in great writers and run pieces people wouldn’t get elsewhere.” The difficulty of finding a niche among the plethora of gaming websites is also why Checkpoint decided to launch as a digital magazine, rather than online or as a print publication. “The three main reasons were freedom, cost and distribution,” Asfahani explains. “We knew we could create an interesting digital magazine drawing from the best of websites and the best of traditional printed magazines and combine them to make a hybrid which had videos, audio and animations embedded, as well as interactive elements. From a costing perspective, it made perfect sense to create something without having to worry about printing and distribution costs – making us green and eco-friendly. And finally, we could do some pretty unique things, like our animated covers, which have been very well received and work beautifully.” If Checkpoint and Loading fall on opposing sides of what magazines represent in today’s industry, they both agree on one point: news doesn’t belong in magazines anymore, so both picked a different approach. “Both Tamer and I prefer to read and write proper, indepth features: the games industry is such a great source of feature material,” Boxer enthuses. “We always look to highlight the stories behind games and trends, and put them into a pop-culture context, and Checkpoint gives us the ideal opportunity to do so.” Asfahani echoes Boxer’s stance: “Our focus isn’t on breaking news, so it allows us the room to explore the best way to engage with our audience.”

“With print, I knew I could bring in great writers and run pieces people wouldn’t get elsewhere.” In the opposite corner, Loading chose the opinion-led approach: “It was a massive honour for the first issue to have someone as great as Keza MacDonald offer to edit the whole thing and fix my rambling,” Dance says. “I think having [The Guardian’s games editor] Keith Stuart, [former VideoGamer features editor] Steve Burns, [freelance games writer] Carl Anka and [freelance games

June 02 MCV 918 | 47

46 47 48 49 MCV918 New Dawn of Magazines_V6.indd 2

31/05/2017 17:19

Checkpoint (left) launched in March, while Loading (right) published its first issue in May

writer] Kate Gray alongside Keza in this first issue was as strong a line-up of writers as you’re likely to see for a debut. Going forward the plan is to get a nice mix of world-weary veterans and give space to new voices alongside them.” Dance also hopes to release Loading magazine every two months, he adds. “Hopefully it remains fun that way and we aren’t rushing to hit tight deadlines. Content wise, it’s why I went with opinion pieces rather than attempting anything like reviews or news.” Loading’s Jimmy Dance

THE PRICE IS RIGHT Another challenge when launching a new magazine in today’s climate is finding the right price. Checkpoint went for £1.99 per issue, hoping to appeal to both magazines readers and app addicts. “That was something which required plenty of group debate, once we had decided that Checkpoint would be a monthly magazine,” Boxer explains. “We hope a pricepoint of £1.99 isn’t too scary for those who are habitual users of app stores, and it’s certainly a lot cheaper than modern print magazines.”

“We wanted to address mobile users by combining the accessibility of the web with the engagement of print.”

He continues: “Most modern readers get their journalism via tablets or mobile phones, so we wanted to address that readership in a way that combines the accessibility of the web with the engagement of print. “We all know that modern consumers are vastly less inclined to buy magazines than they used to be – and it’s great to see that the print world has adapted to that with the rise of free magazines, which are still consumed with enthusiasm and offer levels of engagement which websites can’t.” And that’s exactly why Dance decided to launch Loading as a free magazine. Expanding the magazine’s reach, however, was also a key concern, he explains: “It was first and foremost to get it in the most hands I could. With the bars being our main thrust, it was a nice way to add value to people coming in and buying a number of cocktails and making sure we could hit respectable circulation numbers for our partners.” Loading’s initial print run was 2,000 copies, with 500 of them already distributed at the time of our interview – just four days after the mag released. “[We have] requests to post magazines out to places like the US and Holland, which is crazy for a gaming bar’s in-house magazine,” Dance enthuses. “Audience-wise, we’ve always been proud that our main customer base doesn’t fall into the traditional ‘gamer’ bracket. We cater to a huge array of people, so to have a thing they can take away at no extra cost means, much like the games in the space, there’s no barrier to entry.”

48 | MCV 918 June 02

46 47 48 49 MCV918 New Dawn of Magazines_V6.indd 3

31/05/2017 17:19

Dance expects his audience to grow, too, as more outlets agree to distribute the mag going forward: “We have our coffee blend coming back, so places stocking that will also have the magazine, and then a few of our friends with similar venues elsewhere will be taking copies,” he explains. Asfahani has similar ambitions for Checkpoint: “We have a humble readership now, we only launched in March and have done no PR or marketing around the magazine. But that’s all changing now as we’ve got a few issues under our belt. Having said that, we have been told that we had unprecedented numbers for a first issue with no announcements, so we’re really happy with that.” WINDS OF CHANGE Advertising is, of course, the biggest hurdle for anyone launching a magazine, and both Dance and Boxer tells us it’s something they’ve struggled to get right. “It’s a difficult time for anything ad-funded, as I think convincing companies of a return on traditional spend is hard to do when, for the same £1,000 advert, they can instead create something unique, post that online and see a direct return,” Dance reckons. For Loading, however, getting advertising on board isn’t necessarily the main goal. “It’s less about specific advertisers just for the print side, and more about expanding what we can do for publishers,” he says. “So alongside everything we did before, you now have this component that adds an extra element for you to

feedback to clients, to explain how you’ve got an even better return on a minimal outlay.” Checkpoint faces the same problem, says Boxer, despite having no plans to jump into the realms of print. The team is still “very much” looking for advertisers, and not just those based in the UK, either. “Because Checkpoint is worldwide, we had to work out how to accommodate geotargeted ads. There’s been a lot of research recently about the relative engagement of ads on the web and in print, and we believe that Checkpoint’s format offers the sort of engagement that print ads enjoy – yet in a digital environment.” When asked about their long-term goals for their respective magazines, both Asfahani and Dance have very straight to the point answers, each in their own style. For Dance, the “first job is to slowly creep that page count up, continue to build up the magazine and then wait for Future Publishing to come calling as they seem to own everything,” he jokes. Asfahani, meanwhile, wants Checkpoint “to serve the global gaming audience in a way that excites them and intrigues them. For the content to be interesting and intelligent. For it to be a truly global magazine. How we consume content now is very different to how we’ve traditionally consumed it. And I think traditional magazines are finding it difficult to find, hold on to and serve their audiences effectively. That’s not to say there aren’t some great publications out there, but the audience’s consumption and expectations have changed.”

From top to bottom: Checkpoint’s Tamer Asfahani and Steve Boxer

June 02 MCV 918 | 49

46 47 48 49 MCV918 New Dawn of Magazines_V6.indd 4

31/05/2017 17:19

Secure your tickets now! International Business Media Services 42 Christchurch Road Ringwood BH24 1DN | United Kingdom Tel. +44 1425 48 68 30 | Fax +44 1425 48 68 31

Ad Template.indd 1 gamescom_2017_Anzeige_MCV_Doppelseite_420x265mm_B2B_GB.indd Alle Seiten

30/05/2017 14:11

22.-26.08.2017 Cologne

Ad Template.indd 2

30/05/2017 14:11 04.05.17 15:33


Release date:



Developer: Nintendo • Publisher: Nintendo • Distributor: Open • Platform(s): Switch • Price: £49.99

Arms is "perfect for players of all ages, whether they are familiar with fighting games or not”

The publisher says...

The press say...

How well will it do?

Developed by many of the same team members as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Arms aims to be Nintendo's new family-friendly competitive title. Nintendo of America’s senior VP of sales and marketing Doug Bowser said: “With games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Arms and Splatoon 2, the next few months will be a summer of social competitive gaming on Nintendo Switch." He added that Arms is "perfect for players of all ages, whether they are familiar with fighting games or not.” Arms features 30 different weapons and ten characters have already been unveiled, with more to come. n

Writing for The Guardian, Holly Nielsen described Arms as a "fighting game with party game elements" aiming "to do to fighting games what Splatoon did to shooters." She said the Joy-Con's motion controls are "a pretty impressive technical achievement" but added that it "takes time to grasp the basics." For players willing to invest the time into Arms, however, "there’s real joy and depth to be found." Eurogamer's John Linneman had a similar experience, saying Arms is in line with games like Super Smash Bros. and Power Stone, "both fighting games with a focus on movement and stage design." n

Nintendo is no doubt hoping to rekindle some of Splatoon's success here, this time in the fighting genre. Nintendo's first party titles are always eagerly anticipated so Arms is likely to sell well. That said, Nintendo also needs to make sure that more casual players understand the game isn't just a Wii Boxing copycat. Likewise, with Splatoon 2 launching in July, it's possible gamers will hold off in favour of something more familiar. Given Splatoon's popularity, we predict Arms won't match its overall sales, but given the positive reception to its recent worldwide demo sessions, Arms may well punch above its weight come launch day. n

52 | MCV 918 June 02

52 53 54 55 MCV918 Big Releases_V8.indd 1

31/05/2017 17:43

Release date: 15/06


Release date:


MotoGP 17

Developer: Milestone • Publisher: Milestone • Distributor: Koch Media • Platform(s): PS4, XO, PC • Price: £49.99 (PS4, XO), £44.99 (PC)

MotoGP 17 will feature a revamped career mode

MotoGP 17 is launching this June, with a new focus on eSports. For non-competitive gamers, though, this new entry is an opportunity to play with all the riders from the 2017 season. Milestone's lead designer Matteo Pezzotti said that the developer worked hard to "make MotoGP 17 not just a seasonal update." He added that the title is "full of all the innovations that the fans of the series have asked for over the years," including a new competitive mode and a "revolutionised" career mode. n

10% off in May 2017

Leaves all types of disc looking and playing like new again

Removes light, medium & heavy damage


Compatible with all disc types inc. Blu-ray

One touch operation

Best-selling disc repair machine in the UK


£1,215 throughout May 2017 Call: 01202 489 500

Email: June 02 MCV 918 | 53

52 53 54 55 MCV918 Big Releases_V8.indd 2

31/05/2017 17:43


Release date:


Dirt 4

Developer & Publisher: Codemasters • Distributor: Koch Media • Platform(s): PS4, XO, PC • Price: £49.99 (PS4, XO), £39.99 (PC)

Dirt 4 is "one of the best racing games ever made"

The publisher says...

The press say...

How well will it do?

Dirt 4 was created hand-inhand by Codemasters and rally drivers, including twotime FIA World Rallycross champion Petter Solberg, to make it as realistic as possible. That said, Codemasters also wanted to make sure Dirt 4 could be appealing to both newcomers and hardcore fans of the franchise, and has implemented loads of new and revamped features. This includes 'Your Stage', which lets players create a "near infinite number of stages," according to Codemasters. Over 50 vehicles will be featured, five rally locations with "millions of routes," a career mode, online competitions and more. n

Stuff's Chris Rowlands labelled Dirt 4 "one of the best racing games ever made" thanks to its "pure realism" after playing a pre-alpha version of the game. He praised the title for being accessible and, unlike its predecessor Dirt Rally, said it had "something for everyone, whether they're would-be rally drivers or Mario Kart upstarts." IGN's Luke Reilly agreed, reckoning that the new 'Your Stage' feature is "set to change Codemasters’ rally games forever." He explained: "Every stage I created felt nuanced and authentic; if I didn’t know they were procedurally generated I certainly wouldn’t have suspected they were." n

Having launched in April last year, Dirt Rally was a big success for Codemasters, debuting at No.2 in the UK weekly charts. But while the title enthused reviewers, its lack of accessibility hampered its wider appeal. Thankfully, it seems Dirt 4 is a huge improvement in this regard, as noted by critics. Another challenge the Dirt franchise needed to tackle was the limited number of stages. With the new 'Your Stage' feature, Dirt 4 has definitely fixed this issue. For these two reasons, plus the huge fanbase the series already has, Dirt 4 is likely to sell very well, and we'd wager it will even surpass Dirt Rally. n

54 | MCV 918 June 02

52 53 54 55 MCV918 Big Releases_V8.indd 3

31/05/2017 17:43


Digital releases The pick of the crop from this week's digital downloads Tiny Troopers 2: Special Ops

Developers: Starloop Studios/Kukouri Publisher: Game Troopers Platforms: PC Price: £12.99 Release date: Out now OUT NOW

Mobile hit Tiny Troopers 2 has finally landed on Steam, where it will try to be as successful as its predecessor, which launched in 2012. With over 30 levels to its name, the PC version of Tiny Troopers 2 has improved graphics and controls, three difficulties and two new game modes exclusive to Steam.

Embers of Mirrim


Developer: Creative Bytes Studios Publisher: Creative Bytes Studios Platforms: PS4, XO, PC Price: £14.99 Release date: Out now


Developer: Art in Heart Publisher: Raw Fury Platforms: Switch Price: £6.99 Release date: Out now

Procedurally-generated platformer Gonner launched on the Switch yesterday. The Swedish indie title originally released on Steam in late 2016 to very positive reviews, thanks to its roguelike elements, eerie art, great sound design, and the fact the game includes a space whale named Sally.

Release schedule Title

20 06

Nex Machina


Developer: Housemarque Publisher: Housemarque Platforms: PS4, PC Price: TBC Release date: June 20th

Creative Bytes just released the beautiful Embers of Mirrim after two and a half years of work. Inspired by 80s fantasy movies such as Labyrinth, the title lets players control Mirrim, a creature who has the ability to split into two entities that are controlled independently by the left and right sticks.

Super Stardust HD and Resogun developer Housemarque partnered with Robotron: 2048 creator Eugene Jarvis to deliver this upcoming twin-stick arcade shooter, which lands on PS4 and PC later this month. Nex Machina will also feature local co-op for two players, who can either fight or help each other.

June 2nd Harvest Moon: Skytree Village Syndrome Tekken 7







Simulation Survival Fighting

Rising Star Funbox Media Bandai Namco

0121 506 9585 01246 810623 0121 506 9585

Advantage Open Advantage

June 6th Farming Simulator 18 The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind The Town of Light Victor Vran: Overkill Edition

3DS, Vita PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO

Simulation RPG Horror Action RPG

Focus Home Bethesda Wired Productions Wired Productions

01256 385 200 0121 506 9585 01279 822 822 +43 720 51879 0

Koch Media Advantage THQ Nordic THQ Nordic

June 7th WipEout: Omega Collection




01216 253 388


June 9th Cladun Returns: This is Sengoku! Dark Rose Valkyrie Dirt 4 Drive Girls

PS4 PS4 PS4, XO, PC Vita

RPG RPG Racing Action

NIS America Idea Factory Codemasters Rising Star

020 8664 3485 020 8664 3456 01279 822 800 0121 506 9585

Open Creative Koch Media Advantage

June 15th MotoGP 17




01256 385 200

Koch Media

June 02 MCV 918 | 55

52 53 54 55 MCV918 Big Releases_V8.indd 4

31/05/2017 17:43


Switching it up

Retailer promotions boosted sales for several titles last week, while Switch games continued to grow


fter impressive growth at retail during the week ending on May 20th, due to the launch of several triple-A titles such as Injustice 2 and Farpoint, business was back to normal last week. Sales were down 18 per cent in value week-onweek, sinking to just over £6m, and down 12 per cent in units, with 215,234 copies shifted during the Week 21 period. The market was up compared to Week 19 though, over 40 per cent in units and 37 per cent in value. The Nintendo Switch did particularly well over the past two weeks, with unit sales surging 68 per

Sales were down 18 per cent in value week-on-week, sinking to just over £6m cent in value over this period and revenue derived from the platform increasing over 81 per cent. This is due to the ongoing success of both The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (whose sales were up 53 per cent last week) and the recently released Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which had a 16 per cent increase in sales week-on-week. Debuting at No.10 last week, Capcom’s Ultra Street Fighter II also boosted the Switch at retail. Further down the charts, the Switch version of NIS America’s Disgaea 5 debuted at No.36 in the charts and Switch launch title 1-2-Switch reentered the listings at No.30 with a 43 per cent growth in sales. The increase in hardware stock at retail is the key reason behind this uplift in performance for the relatively new console. THE HIGHS AND LOWS While Warner Bros’ Injustice 2 managed to keep its No.1 spot for the second consecutive week (despite sales decreasing 52 per cent), the big winners of last week’s charts were actually to be found elsewhere. To start with, Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch performed incredibly well last week, with sales increasing 281 per cent week-on-week, following an extensive drop in price. This allowed the title to jump from No.18 to No.2, with sales still slightly in favour of the Xbox One version (54 per cent, versus 40 per cent for the PS4 and six per cent on PC). This performance was also likely boosted by the digital release of the Game of the Year edition, which might




01 Injustice 2 02 Overwatch 03 Grand Theft Auto V 04 FIFA 17


PS4, XO PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO, PS3, 360 PS4, XO, PS3, 360 05 Prey PS4, XO, PC 06 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe NS 07 Ghost Recon Wildlands PS4, XO 08 Dishonored 2 PS4, XO, PC 09 Breath of the Wild NS 10 Ultra Sreet Fighter II NS

Warner Bros Activision Blizzard Rockstar EA Bethesda Nintendo Ubisoft Bethesda Nintendo Capcom

Source: Ukie/GfK, Period: Week 21, ending May 27th

have increased awareness of the title – provided there are still people out there ignoring the existence of Overwatch. Meanwhile, Bethesda’s Dishonored 2 made an impressive comeback, re-entering the charts directly at No.8. Sales for the title were up 1,267 per cent week-on-week due to retailer promotions. Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Wildlands also had a decent week, with a 48 per cent growth in sales. The only other new entry in last week’s charts was indie title Rime, published by Grey Box. The Tequila Works-developed title made it to No.27 for its first week at retail. Despite an overall positive week, there were also some below-average performances last week, such as PSVR exclusive Farpoint, which debuted at No.2 the week before and fell to No.19 last week due to a 79 per cent drop in sales. Bethesda’s Prey only lost one spot to No.5 with an impressively small nine per cent decrease in sales.

Overwatch climbed to No.2 last week with a 281 per cent growth in sales

56 | MCV 918 June 02

56 MCV918 Chart Analysis_V5.indd 1

31/05/2017 17:19



c l




Tel: 01622 845 161


distribution Ltd

Video Game Wholesaler • Global Distribution

Global sourcing network

for: Video

Games - Consoles - Accessories

Overstocks Specialists

Interest free credit accounts available

150,000 units in stock and ready to ship today +44 (0)208 670 5180


20 + years industry experience

Accounts for small retail businesses welcome

Est. 2003

Tel: +44 (0)208 670 5180 ENARXIS DYNAMIC MEDIA

Tel: +302 1090 11900 FLUID DESIGN



rich experiences for brands that entertain creatiVe / design / digital / motion / licensing Tel: +44 (0)121 212 0121

57 MCV918 Directory Page_V1.indd 1


31/05/2017 17:20


This week, we celebrated women in games, Bandai Namco got its punching gloves on and we all played football for SpecialEect

Women in Games Awards 2017 The third Women in Games Awards took place last month, which saw MCV, Develop and eSports Pro celebrate the achievements of women in the UK games industry. Congratulations to all our winners and finalists, and thanks again to our sponsors, Facebook, Aardvark Swift, Twitch, The Yogscast, Rovio, Ukie, GamesAid and Insert Coin. We hope you all had a great day and look forward to seeing everyone again next year.

58 | MCV 918 June 02

58 59 60 61 62 MCV918 End Game_V13.indd 1

31/05/2017 18:44

June 02 MCV 918 | 59

58 59 60 61 62 MCV918 End Game_V13.indd 2

31/05/2017 18:44

endgame “I’m leading a studio, so for me it’s important to get parity. But what matters most is equal opportunities. I want to inspire women, younger talent, to join this industry.“ Véronique Lallier, eSports Contender

“I think education, getting more young women involved with games at a younger age could increase diversity. I played games as a kid, but I didn’t realise I could actually have a job in games. That’s really important, and will encourage people to get into the industry.“ Naomi Kotler, Breakthrough Talent

“When we talk about diversity, it’s important to say it’s not just about women; it’s about different ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, races and ages. So, I think that getting more women involved is vitally important, but it is a broader question.“

Rhianna Pratchett, Creative Impact

“The highlight today is being in a room with many women. But what is really interesting this year is the number of men in the audience. We need to encourage that. That women are recognised rightly for what they achieve, and equally that men can share in that.“ Noirin Carmody, Outstanding Contribution of the Year

“Days like today unite the industry, but what’s perhaps more important is what they say outside the industry. Hopefully some exposure to this kind of things will help bring more girls into the industry as they make their career choices.“ Natalie Griffith, Career Mentor

“It’s brilliant to be able to connect with so many people within the games industry at once. The event brings the industry together more than people may initially recognise. It may be one room on one day, but essentially there are people I’ll meet today who I’ll then go on to meet as a result of that.“ Otisha Sealy, Rising Star “I think the thing about diversity is equality’s not a cake. It’s not like if you give some away, you have less cake. There’s enough equality to go around. Diversity benefits everybody.“ Caroline Miller, Businesswoman of the Year

“It’s just incredible to see this room full of talented women in games. I wish there were more women in game events, but also other minorities, the smaller ethnic groups.“ Lucy Blundell, New Development Talent

60 | MCV 918 June 02

58 59 60 61 62 MCV918 End Game_V13.indd 3

31/05/2017 18:44


Fighting chance

industry appointments

To celebrate the launch of Tekken 7, Bandai Namco held a tournament to decide who should be crowned the king of fighters among the UK and Ireland games press. Congrats to freelancer Ryan Esler, who beat 13 other journos to the punch. Guiness World Records also presented the publisher with records for having the longest-running game storyline, the longest-running 3D fighting game series, plus one for Tekken 7’s King, who has the highest number of moves in a fighting game.

Amcade founder ALEX MOYET has joined Curve Digital as marketing director, Moyet is another “key hire” for the publisher, says chairman Stuart Dinsey, as the studio looks towards its future releases and continued growth.

High five Testology once again reigned supreme at the SpecialEffect Games Industry Soccer Fives last month, beating 15 other teams from across the UK games industry to the No.1 spot. Sponsored by First Touch Games and New Star Games, over £3,000 was raised for SpecialEffect, and there was even a special guest appearance from the Premier League trophy courtesy of EA.

Kuju has appointed Audiomotion founder MICK MORRIS as business development director. In his new role, Morris will work alongside head of studio Brynley Gibson on future VR projects. Gibson commented that he looks forward to using Morris’ “wealth of experience to increase our scope and ambition.”

After making “a huge contribution to Sega’s growth over recent years,” JAMES SCHALL has been promoted to VP of digital business at Sega Europe. As well as continuing to work closely with Sega’s development studios, Schall will also be responsible for building on the success of the publisher’s digital growth across PC and console.

PCGamesN has appointed two new deputy editors, JULIAN BENSON and BEN MAXWELL. “I’m delighted to return to PCGamesN, despite the site spreading the rumour that I had died,” says Benson, while Maxwell commented: ”Rather than tackle the 4,000 unread emails I’ve amassed writing for Edge, I’ve decided it would be much easier to change jobs and start a fresh inbox.”

LESLEY MCDIARMID, the former head of entertainment at MCV and Develop, has joined Green Man Gaming as head of corporate partnerships. Founder and CEO of Green Man Gaming Paul Sulyok said he was “very happy to have Lesley join Green Man Gaming” and hopes to use her expertise to “identify synergies with technology brands to grow the business further.”

June 02 MCV 918 | 61

58 59 60 61 62 MCV918 End Game_V13.indd 4

31/05/2017 18:44

Uni Sans SemiBold


Who’s who? Seth Barton Editor Katharine Byrne News Editor Marie Dealessandri Staff Writer Sam Richwood Designer James Marinos Production Executive Sophia Jaques Games Sales Manager Charlie Gibbon Account Manager Caroline Hicks Events Director

Catch 22 As part of its ongoing 22% Project, Gram Games held a series of workshops last month to help break down industry biases and open up wider opportunities for women in games. The day covered topics such as game development, design, game art and data, all with the aim of helping to get more young women interested in the industry. “With the right knowledge and opportunity, anyone can compete in the gaming industry,” said Gram’s culture developer Erin O’Brien.


NewBay Subscriptions: The Emerson Building 4-8 Emerson Street London - SE1 9DU e:


£80 How much Nintendo’s standalone Switch dock and AC adapter pack will cost when it launches on June 23rd

£34.84 The cost of a Vive headset per month if you buy one through HTC’s new finance scheme

58 59 60 61 62 MCV918 End Game_V13.indd 5

550,000 The number of copies Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has sold in the US in April, physically and digitally, according to NPD data

£36 How much retailer GAME is hoping to convince customers to spend per year to sign up to its new Elite customer loyalty scheme

Mark Burton Managing Director

MCV has an exclusive media partnership with Famitsu – Japan’s leading video games analyst and news source


NewBay Media Europe Ltd is a member of the Periodical Publishers Association

ISSN: 1469-4832 Copyright 2017

The number of users now using voice and text chat app Discord after two years on the market

MCV is published 24 times a year by NewBay Media Europe Ltd, The Emerson Building, 4th Floor, 4-8 Emerson Street, London SE1 9DU

The Emerson Building, 4th Floor 4-8 Emerson Street. London, SE1 9DU All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without the express prior written consent of the publisher. The contents of MCV are subject to reproduction in information storage and retrieval systems. Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, NP12 2YA

31/05/2017 18:44

Launching Summer 2017!

Call your Exertis Account Manager 01279 822800

MCV 918

Launching Summer 2017!

THE E3 ISSUE 02.06.17

CoverTemplate.indd 1

26/05/2017 11:48

MCV918 2nd June  
MCV918 2nd June