Nintendo dominates biggest ever MCV Awards

Over 600 representatives from the UK games industry saw Nintendo become the first ever company to win the prestigious Grand Prix for a second time. It also won three other premium awards – namely Games Publisher, PR Team and Marketing Team – to take its overall haul on the night to four.

Other big winners included THQ, which won Sales Team after its fine revenue and market share growth over the past 12 months.

GAME took the Specialist Games Retailer crown, whilst the hugely impressive Birmingham New Street branch won Star Store on behalf of Gamestation. HMV shrugged off its head office troubles to score an impressive victory in the games market by being named best Entertainment Retailer, whilst ePlay won Independent Retailer and Play.com won Online Retailer.

The powerful and innovative sales, marketing and PR effort being Christmas blockbuster Gears of War helped Microsoft to dominate the Game Campaign award. Ubisoft won Trade Marketing Team for its overall strength and high level of support. Activision’s Guitar Hero, an innovative introduction on PS2 last year and currently riding high in the 360 chart, won New Games Brand.

Meanwhile, Lego Star Wars studio Traveller’s Tales won UK Development Team, Blizzard just edged out Capcom for the Unsung Hero award thanks to the phenomenon that is World of Warcraft and Koch/Nindie broke the traditional Gem and Centresoft duopoly to win Distribution Team.

Awards were voted by a 90-strong judging panel from all sectors of the industry, with the revelry taking place at The Brewery, Chiswell Street, London.

“The commercial success of the DS and Wii clearly contributed to Nintendo’s domination of these awards. But the trade is also unified in its appreciation of the UK team’s energy, enthusiasm and  attitude,” commented MCV publisher Stuart Dinsey.

“Every company should be hugely proud of its achievement, whether winner or Finalist at the MCV Awards. The £2 billion UK games market is testament to the people that work within it. We are the envy of the world for our vitality and fraternity, as demonstrated last night.”

The winners were chosen by a 90-strong industry Judging Panel (see MCV print edition 13/4/07 for full list).

Each category had five Finalists, who had been chosen on their trade performance during the 12 months to March 2nd 2007. Voting took place between Friday March 16th and Friday March 23rd.
 
THE WINNERS

RETAIL 
Independent Retailer: ePlay
Entertainment Retailer: HMV
Online Retailer: Play.com
Specialist Games Retailer: GAME
Star Store: Gamestation, Birmingham New Street

PEOPLE & INDUSTRY
UK Development Team: Traveller’s Tales
Distribution Team: Koch/Nindie.com
Unsung Hero: Blizzard Entertainment
Sales Team: THQ
Games Publisher: Nintendo

PR & MARKETING
PR Team: Nintendo/Cake
New Games Brand: Guitar Hero
Trade Marketing Manager: Ubisoft
Marketing Team: Nintendo
Game Campaign: Gears of War (Microsoft)

MCV Retail Advisory Board: Special Recognition: Margaret Pearson

Grand Prix Award: Nintendo

Games Media Awards to debut in October

The new event will put industry opinion formers all under one roof for the night whilst they battle it out for a dozen much coveted prizes.

It is the perfect curtain-raiser for Q4, with media attending a high profile event just as PR initiatives reach their climax.

Importantly, all media will be invited free to the event, as guests of a limited number of key sponsors.

Over 250 people will attend during the evening, with categories set to include everything from specialist and non-specialist websites to print publications, online and broadcast TV shows, podcasts, national newspapers, consumer press, design, reviews and promotions.

“Diversity of coverage is key to the games industry’s connection with consumers, but many within the wider media do not feel appreciated. Some have told us they don’t think they have a genuine enough relationship with the companies and products that they are writing about,” commented Intent Media boss Stuart Dinsey.

“The Games Media Awards will look to change that.  They will build stronger ties between the games industry and media at all levels.”

The GMAs will be voted by the industry itself, with more information coming soon in MCV print and online.

Click here to sign up for the MCV Daily and get the games market’s leading news digest.

Major new event to recognise the contribution the media makes to the games market.

Intent Media is to launch The Games Media Awards 2007, which will take place at the Soho Revue Bar, Brewer Street, London on Thursday October 11th. It will put the opinion formers all under one roof for the night whilst they battle it out for a dozen much coveted prizes.

It is the perfect curtain-raiser for Q4, with media attending a high profile event just as PR initiatives reach their climax.

Importantly, all media will be invited free to the event, as guests of a limited number of key sponsors.

Over 250 people will attend during the evening, with categories set to include everything from specialist and non-specialist websites to print publications, online and broadcast TV shows, podcasts, national newspapers, consumer press, design, reviews and promotions.

“Diversity of coverage is key to the games industry’s connection with consumers, but many within the wider media do not feel appreciated. Some have told us they don’t think they have a genuine enough relationship with the companies and products that they are writing about,” commented Intent Media boss Stuart Dinsey.

“The Games Media Awards will look to change that.  They will build stronger ties between the games industry and media at all levels.”

The GMAs will be voted by the industry itself, with more information coming soon in MCV print and online.

Click here to sign up for the MCV Daily and get the games market’s leading news digest.

New Develop 100 site goes live

The 2007 edition of the Develop 100 reveals the fluctuating fortunes of the world’s software developers, ranking games studios based on the revenues their games have made at UK retail in the previous calendar year.

EA Canada is the number one studio, while the list also shows a rise in the monies made y UK teams and a narrowing gap between them at their US rivals – plus the impact new formats such as the Wii and 360 are having on developers’ revenues.

The Develop 100 is distributed with every copy of the April issue of Develop and relevant copies of this week’s MCV. Extra copies of the book are available from publisher Intent Media – contact Katie Rawlings or call 01992 535646

MCV ties Japanese deal

The highly respected firm will continue to provide MCV with authoritative marketing data, as well as industry leading analysis and news.

In return, MCV will supply Famitsu with the latest trends, data and stories from the European market.

“We are very pleased to extend our partnership,” said manager at Famitsu’s global marketing and strategic planning department Ricky Tanimoto (pictured). “We are honoured to be able to use MCV’s content in our publications and online product.

“Our knowledge of games marketing in Europe has been enriched in the last two years, as the attention towards the emerging European game market – especially the UK – has continued to increase in Japan.”

Lisa Foster, managing editor of MCV added: “Our relationship with Famitsu is a key factor in ensuring that MCV is regarded as the leading provider of industry knowledge in Europe.

“We’re absolutely delighted to be able to continue this mutually beneficial association. There is no doubt that the editorial output of both publications is enhanced by this hugely significant partnership.”

New home for Intent Media

The company is now located at Saxon House, 6a St. Andrew Street, Hertford, Hertfordshire, England SG14 1JA, though all other contact details remain the same.

Intent Media publishes seven leading trade titles within entertainment, leisure and technology markets, namely MCV: The Market for Home Computing & Video Games, Develop, Mobile Entertainment, PC Retail, ToyNews, Musical Instrument Professional and BikeBiz.

It also runs a series of major industry events such as the MCV Industry Excellence Awards, Develop Industry Excellence Awards, Mobile Entertainment Awards, Games Industry Pub Quiz, MCV Marketing Partners Summit, Mobile Entertainment Meet-Up and MCV Gamesfives.

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.