London Games Conference details announced

The London Games Conference will take place during the increasingly popular London Games Festival on Tuesday October 27th at BAFTA in Piccadilly.

Organiser Intent Media, which publishes video games trade magazine MCV, expects up to 200 delegates. It is also introducing a different concept to previous games seminars.

“LGC will start late afternoon and run into the evening. There will be several keynotes, but no filler. Delegates will be able to meet the speakers via speed networking mechanic and there will also be a dinner,” commented MCV managing editor Lisa Foster.

“We have developed this event to tap into the need for a central B2B event during London Games Festival. But we are trying to ensure that we avoid the pitfalls of previous UK conferences.”

One key element of the London Games Conference is value, with the walk-up rate for the day being only £229. This is half the price of last year’s Games 3.0 conference.

Members of the ELSPA and TIGA trade bodies will be able to gain a further discount, bringing the cost to under £200 per delegate.

For more information contact Stuart.Dinsey@intentmedia.co.uk

Intent acquires Stream and Mobile Music Now

Mobile Entertainment has consolidated its position as the voice of the mobile content industry, acquiring all assets of B2B title Stream, plus the Mobile Music Now conference.

ME, published by Intent Media, will boost its global online presence and print readership as a result of the acquisition, while the popular conference is set for a return this summer.

Stream, published by Prestige Media, closed last year. It had a circulation of over 5,000 international readers and a powerful email news service.

The Mobile Music Now conference was successfully launched in 2007, attracting over 120 key delegates bi-annually to a seminar and networking event at the BAFTA venue in London.

“With the closure of Stream and Mobileindustry.biz before that, Mobile Entertainment is the only truly international business resource for anyone operating in the mobile content sector,” said Intent boss Stuart Dinsey.

"We’re in the process of re-launching what was a very successful Mobile Music Now event. It is such an original and exciting conference format, and very affordable for delegates. I’m certain the industry will be delighted to welcome it back. "

Intent acquires Skep Media assets

Intent has acquired all the brands owned by defunct B2B publisher Skep Media, including the Games 3.0 conference, which was launched during the London Games Festival last year.

Indeed, Intent has already agreed with LGF 2009 and trade body ELSPA that it will launch a new B2B conference for the wider industry during the Festival this October.

"Final plans will be announced soon. We know the games industry wants a conference and it tried to support Games 3.0, which was innovative and ambitious.," said Intent boss Stuart Dinsey.

"But ours will be much cheaper to attend than Games 3.0 – half the price at least. Plus there will be a very different format," added Dinsey.

As part of the Skep deal, Intent Media has also acquired the assets of trade monthly In Stock, plus video title Home Entertainment Week and RRP – which all closed late last year.

At the same time, Intent has acquired the assets of the Mobile Music Now conference and Stream mobile B2B title from Prestige Media.

Stream also closed last year, but Intent hopes to continue the conference, with a relaunch this summer.

Intent Media acquires music title

The deal means Intent is now the dominant B2B player within entertainment and leisure markets.

Its portfolio includes market-leading positions within print, online and events across music, video games, toys, home computing, cycling, mobile content and licensing – with eight magazines and 10 commercial websites.

Agreement was reached with MTN publisher MB Media in response to the market’s on-going desire for a single trade magazine and website, which can now be found at www.mi-pro.co.uk.

“Intent Media has a clear strategy of taking leadership positions in growing entertainment and leisure markets. This purchase means we can develop our brand in the sector at a greater pace, whilst working more closely with the trade shows and trade bodies,” commented Intent Media managing director Stuart Dinsey.

“We have had another tremendous year of growth and are currently in three separate Top 50 charts according to the most recent Plimsoll analysis of the publishing sector. Further acquisitions are being sought.”

Intent Media’s print and online brands now include MCV: The Market for Home Computing & Video Games, Develop Magazine, Mobile Entertainment Magazine, Licensing.biz, CasualGaming.biz, ToyNews, PC Retail, MI Pro, Audio Pro and BikeBiz.

Our events include The MCV Industry Excellence Awards, Develop Industry Excellence Awards, Mobile Entertainment Awards, PC Retail Awards, Games Media Awards and BikeBiz Awards.

BioShock’s creative team to keynote Develop conference

The creative team behind one of the biggest games of the past 12 months, 2K’s BioShock, have signed up to deliver a keynote talk at next month’s Develop conference.

2K’s Ken Levine, Christopher Kline, Nate Wells and Bill Gardner will be on hand to discuss and examine the secrets behind the success of their game, which won a number of awards last year including a BAFTA.

Levine is the founder and creative director of 2K Boston. He led the creation of the BioShock as project director and writer.

“We are obviously delighted to be welcoming Ken and the team to Develop in Brighton,” commented Andy Lane, event director of the Develop Conference at Tandem Events.

"Their passion and experience are genuinely inspirational and this session will be a fantastic start to a packed two days of knowledge building sessions. So, would you kindly take your seats, it’s going to be a brilliant few days by the sea with many of the biggest and brightest names in the development world speaking, participating and partying."

The Develop conference and expo takes place from July 29th to 31st at the Metropole Hotel in Brighton, UK. More details on the event can be found here.

ToyNews strengthens team

Adrian Miles has now joined as advertising sales manager from Imagination Games. He brings with him toy trade experience from national account positions with Hasbro and Mega Brands. He replaces Laura Crowhurst who is moving on to manage a new family business project. He will be working on both ToyNews and sister online brand Licensing.biz

The editorial team will be boosted by the addition of staff writer Katie Roberts, who has experience in both journalism and PR, having worked for agencies such as Storm Communications and Publicity Engineers plus editorial stints at Smash Hits and local press. Roberts will be working across ToyNews and Licensing.biz.

The appointments come as ToyNews looks to increase its online presence and with a number of exciting developments in the pipeline for the print edition.

"Adrian is an experienced and popular member of the toy trade already. He has a wide range of strong relationships across the business and is just the man to take ToyNews forward," said publisher Stuart Dinsey.

"We are the most widely read toy trade publication, both in print and online. Most importantly, we are also the most popular and the most valuable. ToyNews is an essential read for everyone in the business – delivering genuine value for readers and advertisers alike.

"Katie’s arrival from a strong communications background is also great news as we take an integrated brand strategy approach to ToyNews in the UK and internationally."

Develop Awards finalists revealed

With record-breaking sales and huge critical acclaim for Grand Theft Auto IV, developer Rockstar North boasts four nominations: Visual Arts, Audio Accomplishment, Technical Innovation and Best In-house Developer. Meanwhile its newest sister studio, Rockstar London, scoops a nomination for Best New UK/European Studio.

Ninja Theory and SCEE Cambridge are also nominated in a number of categories – including the awards for Best New IP, Visual Arts, Audio Accomplishment and Technical Innovation – thanks to their work on Heavenly Sword.

After the debut of its PS3 SingStar title last year, SCEE’s London Studio bags a trio of nominations for Visual Arts, Audio Accomplishment and Best In-house Studio. Elsewhere, Frontier Developments and Criterion Games also have three nominations each for their work on LostWinds and Burnout Paradise respectively.

Other leading companies nominated include Splash Damage, CCP, Jagex, Starbreeze, Rebellion, NaturalMotion, Epic Games, Crytek, Sports Interactive, Zoe Mode and Ideaworks3D.

With the finalists revealed (the full list can be found below) we’ll now turn to our panel of 100 industry experts to vote for the winners.

Now in its sixth year, the Develop Industry Excellence Awards is the only event which rewards the work done by Europe’s leading games development companies. The 2008 ceremony will be held at the Hilton Metropole, Brighton on Wednesday July 30th – over 500 leading games industry execs are expected to attend.

An Early Bird rate on ticket prices is available until July 1st – to book your place, please contact Jodie Holdway at BHPR on Tel: 01462 456780 or email Jodie.holdway@bhpr.co.uk.

This year’s awards are kindly sponsored by Geomerics, Codemasters, Autodesk, Amiqus and Hansoft.

DEVELOP AWARDS: The finalists in full

CATEGORY: CREATIVITY

Best New IP
Lost Winds (Frontier Developments)
Heavenly Sword (Ninja Theory)
Crysis (Crytek)
World in Conflict (Massive)
Viking: Battle for Asgard (Creative Assembly)
Overlord (Triumph)

Best Use of a Licence
Ferrari Challenge (Eutechnyx)
The Darkness (Starbreeze)
Sega Superstar Tennis (Sumo Digital)
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (Splash Damage)
Lego Indiana Jones (Travellers’ Tales)
Metal Gear Solid Mobile (Ideaworks3D)

Visual Arts
Rockstar North (Grand Theft Auto IV)
Crytek (Crysis)
London Studio (SingStar PS3 UI)
Frontier Developments (Lost Winds)
Criterion Games (Burnout Paradise)
Ninja Theory/SCEE Cambridge (Heavenly Sword)

Audio Accomplishment
London Studio (SingStar PS3)
Rockstar North (Grand Theft Auto IV)
Ninja Theory/SCEE Cambridge (Heavenly Sword)
Sumo Digital (Sega Superstars Tennis)
Codemasters Studios (Race Driver GRID)
Criterion Games (Burnout Paradise)

Publishing Hero
Codemasters
Nintendo
Sega
LucasArts
Gamecock
1C & 505 Games

CATEGORY: TECHNOLOGY & SERVICES

Tools Provider
Hansoft
Epic Games
Sony & SN Systems
Havok
NaturalMotion
IDV

Technical Innovation
Rockstar North/NaturalMotion/Image Metrics (Grand Theft Auto IV)
Ninja Theory/SCEE Cambridge (Heavenly Sword)
Ideaworks3D (Airplay)
SCEE R&D Team (PhyreEngine)
Geomerics (Enlighten)

Creative Outsourcing
Axis Animation
Side UK
Richard Jacques Studios
Outsource Media UK
The Audio Guys
Nimrod Productions

Services
Testronic Labs
Partnertrans UK
Babel Media
Audiomotion
U-Trax

Recruitment Company

Specialmove
Day One Search
Aardvark Swift
Amiqus
OPM

Games:Edu New Talent Award
Abertay University & Dare to be Digital
Rare
Microsoft
Blitz
University of Derby
Hull University

CATEGORY: STUDIOS

Best New UK/European Studio
Finblade
Konami Paris
Oxygen Studios
Rockstar London
Doublesix

Best Mobile Studio
Progressive Media
Ideaworks3D
Digital Chocolate Finland/Sumea
Distinctive Developments

Business Development

Zoë Mode
Rebellion
Realtime Worlds
Team 17
NaturalMotion

Best Independent Developer
Rebellion
Jagex
CCP
Frontier
Splash Damage
Ninja Theory

Best In-house Developer
Rockstar North
Codemasters Studios
Criterion Games
Sports Interactive
London Studio
Bizarre Creations

SPECIAL INDUSTRY RECOGNITION AWARDS

Development Legend & Grand Prix

Winners for these awards to be announced on the night

New plan for BikeBiz Awards

"We are still convinced that the industry needs a high profile, quality awards event. Cannondale had signed up to be headline sponsor of a big event at the Cafe Royal in Regent Street this October. Like us, they believe that excellence in the market should be recognised," said Intent boss Stuart Dinsey.

"We planned in a champagne reception, three course meal, plentiful booze, a celebrity host, casino and late licence. High grade AV, bespoke stage, plasmas and video piece were all there and we hoped suppliers would invite their retail customers and enjoy a big night celebrating the industry. But, thanks to the BikeBiz Awards being such a new idea, there seemed some opposition to paying £150 a head for a table.

"This is disappointing, given what we were planning, but the industry has spoken and we have listened. We will focus instead on establishing the BikeBiz Awards as the most prestigious in the industry. The countdown to this year’s awards continues and the promotion will be relentless. There just won’t be a night on the tiles for anyone."

The industry can lobby to be considered for one of the 14 categories by emailing Lisa.Foster@intentmedia.co.uk up until June 27th.

Finalists per category will then be announced in print and online on Friday June 27th. This will be followed by a dedicated Finalists supplement published with the September edition of BikeBiz.

A jury of industry execs and retailers will then be asked to vote, with all winners revealed on Monday October 6th. Each winner will still be presented with an award by BikeBiz.

"We will launch a live version of the BikeBiz Awards next year, with the trade consulted fully before final decisions are taken on timing, pricing and venue. And after this year, we’re sure that there will be a greater understanding of the significance and prestige that a fair and well organised celebration of industry expertise can deliver."

The full list of categories for the BikeBiz Awards 2008 are:
Independent Bike Dealer
Online Retailer
Specialist Chain
Non-specialist Chain
Distributor for Complete Bikes
Distributor for Parts and Accessories
Sales Team
Manufacturer
Sales Triumph
Product Innovation
Marketing Team
Consumer Magazine
Consumer Website
Industry Achievment Award

MCV/Xbox 360 football tournament returns

MCV can reveal that the ninth annual five-a-side competition will take place on Friday August 1st, with team registrations open on June 13th.

The tournament will be held at Powerleague Barnet, boasting a massive 60 teams playing across 13 pitches, and will give MCV readers the chance to take on their colleagues, clients and rivals at the beautiful game.

“Xbox are proud to partner with MCV to bring back the industry’s biggest five-a-side football tournament,” said Microsoft’s head of entertainment and gaming Stephen McGill.

“We’re sure that this year’s event will be a massive success.”

MCV managing editor Lisa Foster added: “We’re delighted to have tied up with the Xbox team again to provide this fantastic football tournament for the whole industry. Everyone is invited and participation is free. Come along, kick your rivals and hug your colleagues.”

Retail Biz now live at MCVUK.com

The new Retail Biz section of MCVUK.com is now live and offers a trade-only forum where retailers and other interested members of the games industry can talk to their peers about High Street-specific issues and more.

The forum is strictly for industry professionals – just sign up here (make sure you tick the ‘Apply for Retail Forum access’ box) and we’ll approve you within a few moments.

The new section also boasts retail-specific information and stats already popular within MCV magazine, including the Recommended product features, a dedicated Retail News feed, Price Check, Charts and Release Dates.

“We have seen from the comments posted up under the stories on the main news section of MCVUK.com that retailers are keen to air their views on the hot issues in the market,” said managing editor Lisa Foster.

"But, whilst we want these lively debates to continue, we’re keen to give retailers and other members of the trade the opportunity to discuss issues in a closed forum."

"Our experience with forums in other markets in which we operate shows how popular these forums can be and we’re excited to bring this concept to the UK games market for the first time."

Have a peek for yourself – just click on any of the links on the new Retail Biz bar above.