Finalists revealed for sold out MCV Awards

Over 40 companies, from the very smallest specialist online games store to the multi-billion dollar industry giants, will be hoping to cap their evening on Thursday April 19th by winning an MCV Award.

They are important and prestigious awards because they are unique and transparent. Only the MCV Industry Excellence Awards recognise the people behind the hits and those on the frontline of retail, sales, marketing and distribution.

To choose the five Finalists per category, MCV considers achievements between March 2006 and February 2007, whilst also encouraging its readers to lobby both for themselves and for customers, partners – and even rivals.

That lobbying period is now over and the MCV Awards have moved to the next phase, which is where the judges begin to decide which Finalist deserves their vote. A minimum of 65 judges are appointed, from all corners of the business. They must vote confidentially and independently. They are not allowed to vote for themselves or associated companies. But, importantly, the judges are only revealed to the industry after the voting process is complete.

A special awards supplement will be published with MCV on Friday March 23rd, giving a full summary of each Finalist in each category and why it has been chosen. The big night itself takes place on Thursday April 19th at The Brewery, Chiswell Street, London.

Only a few tables remain, whilst high sponsorship spots have gone to Xbox 360 (Gold Partner), Nintendo (Retail Partner), Nvidia (Silver Partner), IGA Worldwide (Champagne Reception), Kiss FM and System 3.

The Finalists in full:

RETAIL

Independent Retailer: e-Play, Chips, Grainger Games, Playtime Multimedia, Ninja Games
Specialist Games Retailer: Chips, Gamestation, GAME, Gamestop, CEX
Entertainment Retailer: Woolworths, Virgin, HMV, Asda, Tesco
Online Retailer: Play, Amazon, GAME, Gameseek, Shopto.com
Star Store: Playtime Multimedia (Doncaster), Gamestation (Birmingham New Street), Chips (Orpington), GAME (Braehead, Glasgow), HMV (Oxford Street, London)

PEOPLE & INDUSTRY

Sales Team: Nintendo/Koch, THQ: Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Microsoft/Gem
UK Development Team: Travellers Tales, Real Time Worlds, Evolution, Rare, Rockstar Leeds
Distribution Team: Gem, Centresoft, Koch, Just, EUK
Unsung Hero: Capcom, Square, Mastertronic/Blast, Koch/Nindie.com, Blizzard
Games Publisher: Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Sega, THQ, Nintendo

PR &  MARKETING

New Games Brand: Brain Training (Nintendo), Gears of War (Microsoft), Just Cause (Eidos), Guitar Hero (Activision), Dead Rising (Capcom)
PR Team: Nintendo/Cake, Microsoft/Red/Edelman, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Sega/Kazoo
Game Campaign: Gears of War (Microsoft), Wii Sports (Nintendo), Brain Training (Nintendo)
FIFA 07 (Electronic Arts), Pro Evo 6 (Konami)
Trade Marketing Team: Ubisoft , Sony Computer Entertainment, Vivendi Universal Games, Nintendo, Sega
Marketing Team: Microsoft, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, THQ

MCV Retail Advisory Board: Special Recognition
This is a special award voted for exclusively by the members of the MCV Retail Advisory Board – representing the leading games retailers in the UK marketplace.
Margaret Pearson, Centresoft
James Dixon, THQ
Dave Gould, Vivendi Universal Games
Penny Humphrey, Electronic Arts
Paul Marcantonio, Ubisoft

Grand Prix Award
This is the biggest award of the evening, with nothing revealed until the big night itself. It takes an overall view, choosing the company considered to have contributed the most to the marketplace over the last 12 months, not only in terms of commercial success, but also of innovation and energy.
Last year’s winner was Sony Computer Entertainment. Previous winners have included Nintendo, Microsoft and Electronic Arts.

Games industry pub quiz launched

The first MCV Industry Pub Quiz, sponsored by Xbox 360, will take place on Wednesday May 30th, featuring publishers, retailers, media… and big prizes.

At the swanky setting of London’s AKA Bar, Holborn, the MCV Industry Pub Quiz is open to 20 teams of up to five and will see the official crowning of the games market’s brainiest team.

As well as the massive prestige that goes with the title, the winners will also get a bumper pack of prizes from main sponsor Microsoft – whilst there will be spot prizes on offer courtesy of various round sponsors, including Activision, Nindie.com, Gem, Vivendi Games and Ubisoft.

“The MCV Pub Quiz will be a cracking night of fun and competition, with friends from all sectors getting together for some serious socialising and deadly serious trivia,” MCV publisher Stuart Dinsey said.

Microsoft’s head of entertainment and gaming Stephen McGill added: “We’re very happy to join MCV in hosting the first Industry Pub Quiz. It will be a great evening, with some top prizes on offer but, more importantly, the title of Industry Quiz Champions will be up for grabs for the first time.”

To find out how you can get involved email MCV here.

Daily online service launched by MCV

The new service, called MCV Daily, will offer an update on all the breaking announcements from around the games industry and the best of the news from leading websites – including Next Generation, IGN, Gamespot, Develop, Gamasutra, Spong and Mobile Entertainment, plus exclusive Japanese partner Famitsu, specialist media service Gamespress and many more trade partners.

"MCV print edition serves the UK and European games trade in an unrivalled way in terms of community. Everyone who receives our publication on a Friday is very much on the inside of the business and part of the business.

"Our subscribers are in there selling, marketing and making games rather than just observing the industry. But, at the same time, the wider MCV readership online has been growing at an incredible rate," said publisher Stuart Dinsey.

The MCV website has already tripled its readership in the past 12 months, and has RSS feeds with everyone from GoogleNews and Newsnow. It is also the preferred partner of many media giants, such as The Guardian.

"There is so much international content on the MCV site it makes sense to offer a daily update. We can offer an independent, honest digest of breaking news all around the world – straight to your desk."

To receive the new service simply go to MCV Daily.

Develop In Brighton takes shape

The cream of the international development community is heading down to the south coast for the Develop Conference and Expo 2007, to be held from July 24th to July 26th at the Brighton Hilton Metropole.

Launched last summer, the Develop conference has this year attracted more well-known speakers, including Lionhead’s Peter Molyneux and VFX guru Peter Chiang. Studios such as SCEE, Rare and Blitz have also already declared their support.

The main conference, which takes place on July 25th and 26th, boasts 45 sessions across the seven tracks of design, production, coding, business, art, audio and world vision. The latter is brand new for 2007, promising a glimpse into games development around the world. Four key themes underpin the conference: community, connectivity, creativity and control, which emphasise topics such as user-generated content, network-backed games and new control schemes.

“As we leave GDC behind, we couldn’t have asked for a better following wind for our second Develop Conference this July,” said advisory board chair Owain Bennallack.

“One of our long-standing key themes, social networking and its impact on games, surprised many as the talk of San Francisco, thanks largely to Phil Harrison’s key speech revealing PlayStation Home and Media Molecule’s Little Big Planet. Developers are now ready to hear a lot more about how the lessons of Web 2.0 can make their games better and more successful, and the Develop conference in Brighton is the only place to do so, as well as picking up plenty more traditional hints and tips about programming, art, audio, and production.”

Running alongside the conference is the Develop Expo, which brings together around 40 of Europe’s leading development companies.

July 24th, meanwhile, sees the return of Develop Mobile, a one-day conference dedicated to wireless game development, and GAMES:EDU the Skillset-backed one-day conference looking at games education.

Develop publisher Intent Media is also hosting its popular Develop Industry Excellence Awards on the evening of July 25th at the Metropole.

“We are confident that Develop Conference & Expo 2007 has everything to deliver a thought-provoking, educational, inspirational and business-changing experience for our delegates,“ stated Andy Lane, Tandem Events’ managing director. “It really is the must-attend event for anyone in European development community this summer.”

Delegates can register for passes at www.developconference.com

Sega signs two year ME Awards deal

The deal ensures significant promotion for the games publisher in the run-up to the September bash and prominent billing on the night itself.

Alan Pritchard, Sega’s UK MD, said: “We’re delighted to sponsor the ME Awards for a second year. After the high standard of last year’s event, it was an easy decision. We’re looking forward to helping make this year’s awards a repeat success.”

Following last year’s sell-out, the ME awards event instantly established itself as a highlight of the content biz calendar. The 2007 Awards will be even bigger, with over 500 people expected to attend the big night. More sponsors will be announced soon.

This year there will be 20 awards, with new categories including Best Search Provider, Best Community Service Provider and Best Mobile Publishing Platform.

Winners will be decided by a panel of over 300 carefully selected content biz execs. More information about the awards categories and judging process are available from the www.mobile-ent.biz/awards web site.

For details of table sales and other ticket enquiries contact  kathryn.humphrey@bhpr.co.uk.

Those seeking sponsorship opportunities should contact simon.harvey@bhpr.co.uk.

Develop Conference & Awards return in July 07

Over 1,000 development industry execs from around the world attended July 2006’s inaugural event, the conference attracted a number of notable speakers from across development, including SCE WS president Phil Harrison, Epic’s Mark Rein, Lionhead’s Peter Molyneux, Q Entertainment’s Tetsuya Mizuguchi and representatives from development companiesacross the globe.

The event was also proceeded by a day dedicated to mobile and a popular games and education conference, GamesEdu.

”Develop In Brighton has quickly established itself as a key diary date for all aspects of the European development community,” said Andy Lane of organiser Tandem Events.

“With this year’s event seeing around 1,100 attendees descend on Brighton for four days of sessions, debate and networking, the 2007 event will continue to build on this success. Once again we’ll be providing a top class conference programme, featuring highly regarded international speakers, which will cover the key areas such as coding, design, production, and which will tackle the real life issues facing today’s developers.

"Couple this with all the social and networking opportunities that proved so popular this year, and it’s clear that Brighton in July is the place to be if you’re involved in development.”

Expect to see more details about those taking part in the conference to be exclusively revealed in the pages of Develop in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the always-popular Develop Industry Excellence Awards return after its biggest showing in 2006, where over 400 senior development executives convened to see the successes of UK and European studios rewarded.

As the conference’s key evening event, the 2007 awards will be no different, acknowledging the creative and commercial successes of those working in games development. More details on the awards including lobbying, nomination categories and deadlines will be announced in the coming months.

Sell-out first ME Awards a huge success

Companies attending supporting the event included BskyB, ITN, ITV, BBC, Nokia, SEGA, Glu, 3, T-Mobile, Orange, Sony Ericsson, Player X, MTV, Infospace, Bango, EA Games, I-Play, Sony BMG, THQ Wireless, RealNetworks, Spin3, Groove Mobile, News International, Universal, Vodafone, O2, Gameloft, Google, EMI, Codemasters, Samsung, Chrysalis, Channel 4, Endemol and Terraplay.

The wide range of categories covered all aspects of the mobile entertainment space, including hardware, software and b2b applications.

Sony Ericsson picked up the award for best handset, Digital Chocolate walked away with the award for best games developer, Gameloft for best games publisher, MTV for best video producer and 3 UK as best operator.

The ME Awards also recognised Ray Anderson, CEO of Bango, with the Special Achievement Award for his contribution to the mobile entertainment content industry.

The ME Awards were sponsored and supported by SEGA along with Nokia, Infospace, Player X, Dot Mobi, MMA, Mice Domino and Gamer TV.

The winners in full:
 
Best Imaging Company
Fonestarz

Best Gambling Company
Spin3

Best Adult Services Company
Cherrysauce

Best D2C Aggregator
Jamster

Best Games Developer
Digital Chocolate

Best Games Publisher
Gameloft

Best Music Label
Universal Music

Best Video Producer  
MTV

Best Video and TV Service Provider
MobiTV

Best Music Service Provider
Shazam

Best Games Service Provider 
Terraplay

Best Handset Company
Sony Ericsson

Best Payment/Billing Provider
mBlox

Best Content Service Delivery Platform
Motricity

Best On-Device Portal Provider
SurfKitchen

Best Mobile Marketing Service Provider
Enpocket

Best Content Service
3 UK: See Me TV

Best Operator  
3 UK

Outstanding contribution to mobile entertainment  
Ray Anderson, Bango

Mobile Entertainment launches into Asia-Pacific

It will comprise all ME’s usual invaluable data and analysis, but with a focus on the sky-rocketing territories of China, Japan, South Korea, India and the other Asia-Pacific markets.

The first edition appears on Friday October 13th, bundled with the October edition of Mobile Entertainment. It also has additional circulation at the MEM Asia show in Singapore on November 1st and 2nd.

“Asia Pacific is attracting a huge amount of interest right now,” commented Intent Media’s publisher Stuart Dinsey. “Companies from the region are creating exciting new markets. For example, South Korea is pioneering mobile TV and India launching background tones.

“ME Asia will bring the Far East and Western communities together, aiding growth and opportunity. This launch is very exciting for us, following on swiftly from the sold-out launch of the international ME Awards event in London on September 19th.”

ME Asia will initially be published quarterly.

For more information contact Chris.Buckley@intentmedia.co.uk

Intent acquires Trinity Mirror title

After 10 years of being a key resource for anyone buying and selling through the computer trade, CTO is to cease publication and will be incorporated into PC Retail.

Intent Media has taken over all assets, such as its giant mail and email databases, following purchase of the title from IT Publishing in Birmingham – a division of the media giant Trinity Mirror.

Total circulation of PC Retail will now be increased and editorial remit will be widened,  providing the computer and IT channel with an unrivalled, high quality monthly trade publication stretching across both print and online.

"This deal makes PC Retail even stronger, becoming an essential read for everyone in the retailing and reselling business," commented Intent Media managing director Stuart Dinsey.

The last edition of CTO is published this week. Its subscribers will be added to PC Retail’s circulation from the September issue.

Develop Awards 2006: Winners

Bizarre Creations scooped two accolades – the coveted Grand Prix award and Best Use of Online for Geometry Wars 2 – as its output for Xbox 360 was rewarded.

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, meanwhile, picked up both the Innovation and New Console IP awards for its collaboration with Relentless on quiz game Buzz. Sony was also named Publishing Hero of the Year.

Other big name winners at the event – which was held at the Hilton Metropole in Brighton and was sponsored by Nokia and Nvidia – included Criterion, picking up awards for Art and Sound, plus Best In-house Development Team.

Rebellion was awarded Most Improved Studio; Independent Developer was Traveller’s Tales; and Charles Cecil was named Development Legend.

"The Develop Industry Excellence Awards marks the time of year when the people who are at the creative coal-face of the business are recognised for just how remarkable they are," Stuart Dinsey, publisher of Develop and MD of Intent Media.

 "Congratulations to all the winners and indeed to everyone who entered."

The winners in full:

New UK/European Studio: Bigbig Studios

Most Improved Studio: Rebellion

Mobile Games Studio (sponsored by Nokia Ngage): Gameloft

Handheld Games Studio: Rockstar Leeds

New Console IP: Buzz (SCEE/Relentless)

New PC IP: Fahrenheit (Quantic Dream)

Best Use of a Licence: King Kong (Ubisoft)

Best Use of Online: Bizarre Creations (Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved)

Art and Sound: Criterion (Burnout Revenge/Black)

Innovation: SCEE/Relentless (Buzz controllers)

Tools Provider: NaturalMotion

Services and Outsourcing: Side UK

Recruitment Company: OPM Response

Publishing Hero: Sony

In-House Development Team: Criterion

Independent Development: Traveller’s Tales

Development Legend: Charles Cecil

Grand Prix: Bizarre Creations