With the year drawing to a close and most people already scouring for beer, MCV looks back at the biggest and saddest stories of the year.
- Before THQ declared bankruptcy (and before it refuted claims that it was going to be sold) its Australian publishing office had already closed its doors, with distribution rights going to All Interactive Entertainment.
- GAME had its troubles in the UK this year, but its independently owned Australian armfailed to find an investorto keep it afloat. Thefirst layoffsbegan in May, while in June itentered liquidationwith administrator PriceWaterhouseCoopers issuing afinal statement, and it was announced that all of GAME’S storeswere to close, with the last of themshutting their doors in July, shortly before MCV took a look back overGAME Australia’s marketing strategies.
- The fray of the pricing debate hasn’t abated this year, with MCV writing about theimpending pricing crunchin March, aParliamentary Inquirybeing launched and declaringgeo-blocking to be unacceptable, andshortly thereafter local prices did indeedbegin to drop, with Gamespot asserting last week that pricescouldn’t drop any further.
- The grey import debate also continued to have an eventful year, with JB HiFiadvertising its imported stockin-store and openly discussing itsreasons whyandGameTraders saying it simplywouldn’t exist without importsand Gamespot revealingtensions between retailers and publishers.
- Sega also closed its local doors, with four of the core staff going on to form Five Star Games, a new distributor set up to handle Sega titles.
- An increased reliance on agencies continues to permeate the Australian landscape, with Five Star Games hiring Mink to handle its PR, Razer hiring Communicado, Disney hiring Surprise Attack and Namco Bandai going with Bohemia Group.
- Following on from a report that competition amongst distributors was heating up, newcomer Turn Left Distribution opened up to take on Disney Interactive, Astro opening up via Bluemouth and Koch Media turning to All Interactive Entertainment.
- After a much beleaguered decade long battle, the R18+ classification is finally less than a fortnight away. Along the way to its being swiftly passed in the Senate, there have been promises that MA15+ games would be re-classified as R18+, Queensland announced a delay in implementing the rating until February, and the guidelines have been rightly criticised for still indicating a difference in the way games ought to be treated due to their interactivity.
- Iconic Aussie retailer Dick Smith Electronics was sold to a private equity firm, but not before it first had a massive firesale which left many gamers wanting and declaring that it wasn’t getting out of games.