SPOnG 2006 Poll ? ELSPA, Xplosiv, Koei, Koch

Those marketing types share their thoughts about 2006

Posted by Staff
Mikey Foley, Koei - plus a small Koala!
Mikey Foley, Koei - plus a small Koala!
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SPOnG is quite often mistrustful and critical of marketing executives in the videogame business. The main reason for this is quite simple ? many of them don?t actually play games or have much interest in the ?product? they are hawking, beyond identifying a target demographic and attempting to, well, hit it.

Thankfully though, there is a healthy minority of marketing people who are just as passionate and knowledgeable about gaming as we are. So they are the ones we?ve got to share with us their thoughts about gaming in 2006 and their hopes for 2007.

Firstly, we have value specialist Xplosiv Software?s marketing manager, Paul Benjamin. Benj?s impressive knowledge of gaming and of the industry means that any meeting or social event with him is always a pleasure, or maybe that?s all we remember.

Second up, we have Koei?s marketing and sales supremos, disappointed football fan Mikey Foley and hip hop aficionado Will Curley, keepin? it real and close to the street. Or something.

Next up, Koch Media?s marketing and PR fellas, Jon Bailey and Stefano Petrullo. The usually placid Mr Bailey is, SPOnG can warn you from first-hand experience, deadly when armed with a massive rubber broadsword. He can also claim the dubious honour of having spent more time in Dark Age of Camelot than pretty much anyone else on the planet. Jon has no interest in football and his beach soccer skills leave a lot to be desired.

Finally, we have a lady. Barrington Harvey?s fun-loving Laura West looks after the PR for ELSPA and is our first port of call whenever we need anything from that august institution. As well as being alarmingly good (and highly competitive) at most games, Laura is also as hard as nails and can drink us under any table, so we?ll say nothing untoward about her, nor will we mention that incident at the BAFTAs last year? (Laura, please send cash to the usual address)

SPOnG: What are your (gaming and non-gaming) highlights from 2006?

Paul Benjamin, Marketing Manager, Xplosiv Software

  • Nintendo are BACK - the amazing sales of the DS throughout 2006 just show's our industry that original great games can still sell. Then the Wii - the bravest hardware release we have ever seen and just smashes day one sales. Time's they are a changing.

  • Xbox Live - The 360 hitting its stride towards the end of the year was great to see, a handful of truly great products, But Xbox Live is still the thing that?s gonna be hard for Sony to compete with, a true gaming community.

  • 42" HD TV - Get in.

  • Dead Rising - good dumb fun, what gaming is all about.


Mikey Foley ? KOEI PR & Marketing Manager

  • Football Manager handheld ? A marriage preserving addition to the series that lets FM addicts get their fix in between the boring important bits of life.

  • Game-sharing on DS. A brilliant way to introduce newcomers to games and spread the joy of communal gaming.

  • Steven Gerrard proving once again that he is Roy of the Rovers in human form with yet another last minute, pure fantasy football moment in the FA Cup Final.

  • Games like Loco Roco, Elite Beat Agents and Gitaroo Man Lives proving that there is still originality and imagination within the games industry.


Will Curley ? KOEI Sales Manager

  • Jay Z & Nas dropping albums in the same quarter!

  • Lego Star Wars II being more powerful than I could possibly imagine.

  • Free Online demos

  • Lineage 2 still the pinnacle of hardcore MMO?ing

  • Astroboy GBA is still a complete classic even though it wasn?t released this year, it brings me joy to know it?s there.


Jon Bailey, Marketing Manager, Koch Media Ltd.

  • Gears of War - a game that does everything it said it would.

  • Xbox Live arcade coming of age.

  • Liz Martin of Maverick Fame

  • Seeing Ubisofts Next-next-next gen game taking shape.

  • Working with Deep Silver, Namco/Bandai and Games Workshop on Warhammer: Mark of Chaos.


Stefano Petrullo, PR Manager, Koch Media Ltd

  • Change of country, moving from Italy to UK, in the sunny (well?) Basingstoke.

  • Completing San Andreas just to begin playing Liberty City Stories and get deeply involved in both Yakuza and Scarface.

  • Thanks to Nintendo Wii hopefully my girlfriend will start playing games.

  • Being part of one of the most spooky event of 2006 in a haunted castle for Vanguard.

  • 360 having finally a wider range of games so I can go and buy it!


Laura West, PR Manager, Barrington Harvey/ ELSPA

  • Joining Barrington Harvey.

  • Loco Roco - my flight to Dominican Republic was bearable.

  • Guitar Hero - although being a girl I clearly can't do it.

  • Six hours spent making my Superhero Avatar in City of Heroes/Villains - he is the dogs and called Ken Edwards!

  • Finally achieving a lower age than a pensioner in Dr Kawshima's Brain Training.



SPOnG: Gaming and non-gaming lowlights from 2006?

Paul Benjamin, Marketing Manager, Xplosiv Software

  • PlayStation 3 - A new console is always exciting, but the PS3 has had a long hard year trying to whip up any positive press for a machine that has been surrounded by rumours and some out and out lies. Then the typical slipped European launch. Well done.

  • PSP Software - Loco Roco aside ? where?s all the original stuff!?!

  • Pro Evo - Getting a good spanking my first few goes on Pro Evo on Live

  • Jack Thompson - I wasn't sure if Ishould put this in lowlights or highlights, on one side he's a twat, on the other side he has been really entertaining (still a twat though).


Mikey Foley ? KOEI PR & Marketing Manager

  • The new James Bond movie proving to be the most disappointing and over-rated films of the year with a lead actor that seems better suited to a non-speaking henchman role.


Will Curley ? KOEI Sales Manager

  • New Super Mario Bros being very boring to me.

  • Another terrible Sonic game.

  • Wii composite cables suck.

  • Wiimote basically just an infrared Samba de Amigo maraca

  • Not enough 2D games released!!


Jon Bailey, Marketing Manager, Koch Media Ltd.

  • Missing out on E3 for the first time in years.

  • Many industry stars moving on and out of games.

  • Crashing my beautiful new motorbike and seeing it bleeding oil on the M3.

  • My inability to play Guitar Hero even half as well as I think I can.

  • Good year, can?t think of a fifth


Stefano Petrullo, PR Manager, Koch Media Ltd

  • Star Trek from Bethesda, all of them (give me a sequel of Bridge Commander)...

  • PS3 delayed, I was right.. again.

  • Last E3 without booth babes :(

  • Getting mad trying to register my own car after moving from Italy here!

  • Still not owning a 360.


Laura West, PR, Barrington Harvey/ELSPA

  • The feeling I had the day after the BAFTAs.

  • The feeling I had the day after the Joysticks.

  • The felling I had the day after the InDin.

  • Generally having too many hangovers and blaming them on journalists.

  • Losing/destroying three phones in three weeks.



SPOnG: Things you're either looking forward to in 2007 or would like to see?

Paul Benjamin, Marketing Manager, Xplosiv Software

  • Quality Software - 360 to keep building on the great software its had this Xmas, and Wii to get its second generation software that should blow peoples? tiny minds.

  • Halo 3 - predictable, but, had to say it. C'Mon.

  • Trauma Centre - LOVE it on DS, Please, please, please be good on Wii.

  • PlayStation3 European launch - despite earlier comments, it?s a new console - can't help but get a little excited.

  • Movies - A bunch of, fingers-crossed, high quality Hollywood action movies next summer plus Spiderman 3, Transformers and more.


Mikey Foley ? KOEI PR & Marketing Manager

  • The return of Card Fighters Clash on DS

  • Proper next gen footy games

  • More games like Nintendogs and Brain Training that attract brand new gamers to our industry.

  • Football Manager 2008

  • Any kind of national sporting success. I?d take curling or even tiddly-winks right now seeing as we?re so poor at pretty much everything.


Will Curley ? KOEI Sales Manager

  • Card Fighters Clash DS!!

  • VF5 PS3 - OMG!!

  • New Pokemons for DS

  • NiGHTS HD for XBLA (pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez)

  • Ohshima?s return to Sonic Team for SonicWii


Jon Bailey, Marketing Manager, Koch Media Ltd.

  • Vanguard from Sony online, making MMOs RPGs again.

  • Burning Crusade taking up the other half of my precious free time.

  • Jeff Minter's Space Giraffe on Xbox live Arcade.

  • A new fantastic motorcycle racing game?

  • A hefty pay-rise.


Stefano Petrullo, PR Manager, Koch Media Ltd

  • A new revamped UK industry only event, ECTS style.

  • Xbox 360 cut price, and Live become free for everyone.

  • PS3.

  • Star Trek Bridge Commander II, on 360!

  • My girlfriend moving from London to Basingstoke....


Laura West, PR, Barrington Harvey/ELSPA

  • A better understanding of the age rating systems on games by the public.

  • Stronger support from the Government for the industry.

  • PS3.

  • Everything Barrington Harvey will do in 2007 - will be a great year for all involved.

  • Organising a big ski trip for anyone who wants to join in.



SPOnG: What two gifts were you hoping to see in your Xmas stocking this week?

Paul Benjamin, Marketing Manager, Xplosiv Software

  • Zelda on Wii - I know, I know - how can I have a Wii and not have Zelda? I had to leave something for someone to buy me.

  • Flight tickets to Australia - one way.


Mikey Foley ? KOEI PR & Marketing Manager

  • A one trip time machine that would let me go back and remove Sven Goran Erikkson from existence.

  • A Daytona four-Seat arcade cabinet.


Will Curley ? KOEI Sales Manager

  • Hmmm?maybe a Flash Saturn and Christmas NiGHTS (again!)

  • Gamecube GBA player for big screen Astroboy.


Jon Bailey, Marketing Manager, Koch Media Ltd.

  • That Ubisoft Next-next-next gen game.

  • Liz Martin of Maverick Fame.


Stefano Petrullo, PR Manager, Koch Media Ltd

  • Xbox 360 with HDTV and A brand new Audi A3 (so I can avoid registering my old Italian one).


Laura West, PR, Barrington Harvey/ELSPA

  • Wii and perhaps a cold compress for the injuries I will sustain whilst playing it.



SPOnG: What were you doing at 4pm on Xmas day this year?

Paul Benjamin

  • Taking my granny to near heart attack levels playing Wii sports - She's had a good life.


Mikey Foley

  • Sleeping off all the food and drink and hopefully snoring my way through the usual depressing goings on in Albert Square.


Will Curley

  • Checking Fantasy Footy team for last minute changes to maximise boxing day points.


Jon Bailey

  • Trying to get the sniper achievement on Battlefield Xbox live - still.


Stefano Petrullo

  • Well.. I'll still be at lunch with my enormous Italian family, eating handmade lasagne, lots of meat, drinking wine in Italy.


Laura West

  • Sitting in A & E after my Wii related injury.


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