MCV580 Friday 26th March 2010

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The market for computer and video games




  • ITS OFFICIAL: supermarketsare the fastest growing gamesretailers in the UK.

    According to TNS datapublished by ERA this week,supermarkets took up 17.7 percent of revenue earnedthrough video game software

    sales in 2009 a whopping328 million. That figure wasjust 210m, 10.1 per cent ofthe market, the year previously.

    Online retail also grew itspresence in games slightly but specialists such as GAMEand Gamestation saw theirmarket share marginally fallfrom 35 per cent in 2008 to33.9 per cent in 2009.

    The latest data from TNSalso revealed that supermarketsare now the biggest DVDretailer with 35.7 per centshare of the video sector.Theyre also the second largestin music, accounting for 29.3per cent of CD sales last year.

    ERA director general KimBayley told MCV the loss of

    Woolworths has propelled thegrowth of supermarkets andshe reckons they will growtheir share in games further.

    Woolworths sales prettymuch migrated either tosupermarkets or online, shesaid. Games trends tend tofollow music and DVD, andsupermarkets have beenramping up their games

    offering it wouldnt surpriseme to see their market share ingames continue to increase. IfI were a supermarket, I wouldbe thinking that if I can get a35 per cent share in DVD, Ican also get that in games.

    But there is a lot morecompetition in the gamesmarket, so supermarkets willprobably not quite reach thesame market share as they doin other entertainment sector.

    But supermarkets are not thecheapest retailers, says ERA.

    The average price of softwaresold by the likes of Asda, Tescoand Sainsburys was 23.23,much more than generalretailers (22.44), online(19.29) or specialists (20.96).

    The overall average price ofa game in 2009 was 21.34,down from 22.99 in 2008.

    There has also been a drop inthe total number of gamesoutlets, from 7,609 in 2008 to6,770 last year, due to the fall ofWoolworths and Zavvi.

    04 Block not bustedUK MD breaks silence saystroubled rental chain will notclose down.

    04 New 3D DS announcedNintendo releases first details of DSsuccessor, featuring 3D displays.

    06 Batman 3Ds killer appNew Game Of The Year Edition coulddrive 3D uptake with new technology

    REBRANDING ELSPA to thenewer, more accessible UKInteractive EntertainmentAssociation reflects the evolvingnature of the industryaccording to director generalMichael Rawlinson.

    The UK games industry tradeassociation last week confirmedit will rebrand this summer after20 years as ELSPA.

    Weve got to move withthis world if we are to remain

    relevant to it, Rawlinson toldMCV. What is a publisherthese days? It hasnt been forsome time someone who

    commissions someone else tomake games for them manyof our members own games

    developers now, and manydevelopers know they donthave to go to a big corporationto get their content out. All of

    that is blurring. We are nolonger talking about justconsole and PC any more

    people play with mobile apps,in browsers and online.

    Switching from the ELSPAname has been in the workssince September.

    Rawlinson said theorganisation will maintain itsthorough stance on piracy,online safety, proactive politicaldialogue and defending gamesfrom unwarranted criticism but all will be tuned towardsthe new era our industry faces.

    UK Interactive Entertainmentcould also get closer to social

    issues around games, theimpact the medium has on itsaudience, and might ramp upits services and events.

    And yes, UK IEA will have amore diverse membership.

    Added Rawlinson:Announcing the new name isjust the start of a consultativeand open process where wefacilitate the evolution of theindustrys trade association.

    ELSPA is signalling that it isbecoming inclusive to thewhole industry.



    Issue 580 Friday March 26 2010 3.25

    14 Arts attackEAs Rob Davey discusseshow the publisher is growingits market share

    17 Winning FormulaCodemasters Jeremy Wigmore talks F1,Bodycount and International Cricket

    21 CopycatsWe look at the copy protection andduplication sectors latest hurdles


    Grocers are now the third-biggest games retailers, accounting for 328m of the market in 2009, says ERA but it is specialist and online retailers that are pushing the average price of a game down to 21.34 per unit

    by Christopher Dring

    by Michael French

    International Media Partner

    Supermarket sweep

    Meet the new, inclusive and evolutionary UKIE

    Michael Rawlinson

    Announcing the newname is just the start.We will be inclusive tothe whole industry.

    Kim Bayley, ERA

    It wouldnt surprise meto see supermarketsmarket share in gamescontinue to increase GAMES VS MOVIES VS MUSICIn its annual yearbook ERA has totalled up the UK sales for the

    biggest album, DVD, Blu-ray and game releases of 2009 and keyvideo games trump major music and movie releases...

    1. COD: Modern Warfare 2 Activision 2,926,637 (Game)2. Harry Potter: Half-Blood Warner 2,193,700 (Video)3. FIFA 10 EA 2,155,697 (Game)4. Quantum of Solace Fox 2,040,229 (Video)5. Twilight E1 Ent. 1,815,543 (Video)6. I Dreamed A Dream (S.Boyle) Sony 1,714,369 (Album)7. Wii Sports Resort Nintendo 1,488,797 (Game)8. The Fame (Lady GaGa) Universal 1,458,289 (Album)9. Slumdog Millionaire Fox 1,383,838 (Video)10. Transformers: Fallen Paramount 1,362,020 (Video)

  • BLOCKBUSTER UK is notclosing any stores and is aprofitable business, insists MDMartin Higgins.

    The firm broke its silenceafter news emerged that its USparent could face bankruptcy.

    MCV also reported last weekthat Blockbuster is looking tosell its UK arm.

    However, Higgins has deniedanalyst statements that the firm

    is closing stores in order to helpfacilitate a sale.

    There is no major store-closing programme going on,Higgins told MCV.

    I dont have any stores inthe UK right now losing moneyto the extent that it is worthclosing them.

    In the normal course ofevents, we have closed somestores. In 2006 we had 700stores, and we now have just

    over 640. With a store portfolioof this scale you will alwayshave some shops lose moneythat you sell to someone else,or isnt right for you.

    Following news thatBlockbuster has appointedsomeone to sell its UKbusiness, MCV was contactedto say a deal was at anadvanced stage.

    Higgins says that although heis not directly involved in thesale of the business, news of an

    imminent sale is not somethinghe is aware of.

    Someone is making it up,and if theyre not making it up,its news to me, he added.

    The company has stated itwants to dispose of itsinternational businesses andhas decided to sell them.

    This is a good company, itis profitable, it doesnt have anydebt and is robust. Our profitsare up nearly 18 per cent, and

    there are not many retailers inthe UK able to say that.

    We run a separate legalentity over here. If our parentcompany does go intobankruptcy we would trade onas normal.

    4 MCV 26/03/10 WWW.MCVUK.COM

    UKIE OKAY?Does the new name sound funny?At the moment, for sure.

    Does it mean anything? Not yet.But it could do. And that, of course,is the challenge for any re-brand.

    Well just have to make sure thateveryone refers to us solely as UK

    Interactive Entertainment and not UKIE if we can,said one wise but worried owl at ELSPAs last supper.

    Yeah, rightI would suggest a more pragmatic attitude. UK

    Interactive Entertainment is perfectly acceptable asthe new name. UKIE? People will get used to it.

    After all, we dealt with Nintendo choosing Wii as aconsole name and that was proper mental.

    There are a variety of very good reasons for thegames trade body to switch its name.

    Strategically, the powers behind the ELSPA thronerealise that the games business is changing. Linesbetween development and publishing are blurringand routes to market are widening. Now is theperfect time for a re-think.

    Practically, a change is needed to aid universalrepresentation to Government and basic funding.

    Post-Byron Review, we are firmly on Westminstersradar. I was wedged between Culture, Media andSport secretary Ben Bradshaws longtime politicaladvisor and a trusted DCMS worker bee at theBAFTAs last week.

    It used to be a pissed-up PR and a bored financedirector. Things have changed.

    COME MANY, COME ALL?Whoever wins the next election, Government isclearly prepared to get a lot closer to games and, ifit can, even help the industry.

    But it would prefer one trade body, and is a littleuncomfortable that ELSPA, whilst being efficient andintelligent, would appear to only have a remit toserve the interests of traditional publishers.

    A more inclusive UKIE could also see off the threatof companies from the app or social media spacesetting up their own body. Its frustrating enoughthat TIGA likes to paddle its own canoe.

    And if a single trade body is going to provide theservices required by a 4 billion sector (such asresearch and training, let alone political liaison) thenit needs more cash, which means more members.

    Studios, retailers, services, media, distributors andhardware makers your voice may be about to get alittle louder in the corridors of power.



    Business as usual atRental giant insists no UK stores will be closed We are a profitable

    by Christopher Dring

    A more inclusive UKIE couldsee off the threat of companiesfrom the app, browser or socialmedia games space setting up

    their own body.

    Martin Higgins, Blockbuster

    This is a good company, it isprofitab